New vaccine strategy put in place
Norway implements regional COVID-19 vaccine prioritization
Norway’s government is to follow advice issued by the country’s health authority by switching to a regional prioritization for distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
Minister of Health Bent Høie confirmed at a briefing on March 2 that the country would shift its strategy in line with recommendations earlier issued by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).
Now policy is that municipalities and neighborhoods with high infection rates will receive vaccine supplies earlier than other parts of the country where the number of cases of COVID-19 is low.
Areas likely to be given high priority under the new plan include neighborhoods in Oslo and several municipalities in the east of the country, broadcaster NRK reported.
Earlier on March 2, NIPH recommended taking about 3% of vaccine doses from around 330 neighborhoods and municipalities with low infection and hospitalization numbers and using them to boost supply in parts of Oslo, the eastern municipality Lørenskog, and other municipalities in the eastern region.
“The government believes that distribution of vaccines is a very technical matter, and we place a lot of weight on NIPH’s recommendation. We are therefore now asking them to begin work on a monitored geographical redistribution,” Høie said.
The redistribution is expected to take effect by the middle of March to prevent second doses being disrupted. NIPH is also required to ensure it has a legal basis for the redistribution, according to NRK.
The health authority recommended the government change the national vaccination strategy for the coronavirus soon, Norwegian media, including VG, reported.
The recommendation is based on mathematical modeling and strategies that show the outcomes and effects of unequal geographical prioritization. NIPH now believes the situation with the virus in Norway calls for the change in strategy.
“In summary, we believe that there are more arguments in favor of a geographical targeting with distribution of vaccines over a period of time, and the Institute of Public Health therefore recommends a change to the vaccine strategy that reflects this,” NIPH director Camilla Stoltenberg said in the recommendation published on March 2.
This article originally appeared in the March 12, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.