Norway to offer Covid-19 booster jabs to everyone over 18

People over the age of 18 in Norway will be offered a third Covid-19 vaccine dose, prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced at a government press conference on Friday.

Pictured is a Sinovac dose, which isn't offered in Norway, being prepared.
Norway will offer a third Covid-19 vaccine dose to over-18's. Pictured is a Sinovac dose, which isn't offered in Norway, being prepared.Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Everyone in Norway over the age of 18 will be offered a third Covid-19 vaccine to boost their protection against coronavirus, Støre asaid. The PM said the rollout of boosters for those aged between 18-64 would probably begin next year.

“We are therefore planning for the rest of the population to be offered a third dose next year. It will contribute to the individual being well protected against the virus and also avoid a great burden on society and working life,” Støre said at the press conference.

The revaccination doses won’t be offered until next year because it is currently less than six months since the majority received their second dose.

Younger age groups will be offered a third shot because the protection of Covid-19 vaccines potentially tapers off over time, Støre said.

“The information we have is that dose two provides good protection, but that it has a tapering effect. Therefore, based on the advice we have received from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, we believe that there is a basis for asking them to prepare a third vaccine dose,” Støre said.

The PM did say, however, that the priority would remain on making sure over-65s received their boosters.

“The municipalities are in the process of vaccinating those over 65 with a third dose, these are the most important,” he said.

The National Institute of Public Health said earlier this week that it was preparing the rollout of the third vaccine for those aged between 18 and 64 but was waiting for the government to make its final decision.

Previously, booster jabs were only offered to over-65s and healthcare workers. Booster jabs in Norway are offered six months after the second dose (the same period of time if you have received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine), with the order of priority being the same as the main vaccination program in Noway with the oldest and most vulnerable receiving jabs first.

On Thursday, the Norwegian Insitute of Public Health said that 200,000 people in Norway had received boosters in Norway so far.

The government also announced the return of a number of national measures on Friday, including the return of the domestic Covid-19 pass and new testing rules for unvaccinated close contacts of those with Covid. 

READ MORE: Norway to reinstate Covid-19 certificate as virus cases surge

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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.”