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COVID-19

Norway gets ready to give Covid-19 booster jabs to under-65s

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) said Thursday it was preparing for a third coronavirus vaccine dose to be offered to under-65s in Norway.

Pictured is a Moderna Covid-19 vaccine being prepared.
People aged under-65 in Norway could soon be offered a booster vaccine. Pictured is a Moderna Covid-19 vaccine being prepared. Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP

Under-65s in Norway could be soon offered Covid booster jabs with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) making preparations for the rollout of a third jab because it expects a decision to be made shortly.

“We have started planning for a third dose because we expect it will happen. We don’t have a position on the exact time, but we are considering it and have made the necessary plans,” Camilla Stoltenberg, director of the NIPH, told public broadcaster NRK.

“The assessment will be made quickly,” she added.

Currently, booster jabs are only offered to those over the age of 65 six months after their final Covid-19 vaccine dose. The decision to provide a third vaccine to those over 65 was made in October. At the beginning of this month, it was also announced that healthcare workers would be offered boosters.

READ ALSO: Norwegian health chiefs mull new national Covid measures as cases rise

The priority for booster vaccinations has so far matched Norway’s main Covid-19 vaccination program, with the oldest and most vulnerable being prioritised and the rollout being handled by municipalities.

Stoltenberg could not confirm any details about when a third Covid vaccine shot would be offered for under 65s or who would be offered a jab.

She noted that, because the booster is administered six months after the second dose of the original vaccine, it would be a while before some are offered a booster.

“A third dose is approved for use after six months (since the second vaccine), so there are many under the age of 65 (for which revaccination is) not yet relevant,” she said.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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