Vaccines bring hope
Joy over new EU agreement, but delays can be expected
More good news about coronavirus vaccines have brought hope that normal times are more quickly on their way in Norway. But the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has cautioned that changes and delays in deliveries must be taken into account.
Among the recent news was an announcement on Feb. 12 about a new European Union (EU) agreement with BioNTech/Pfizer, which secures Norway up to 3.5 million more doses of vaccine.
“This is very good news,”said Line Vold, department director at NIPH. “But then we have to take into account that there may be changes. Things can happen along the way.This is a complex playing field, and there may very well be delays,” she told NTB.
The pace of the vaccine rollout has been heavily discussed since it began during the Christmas season. There have been several reports of capacity problems in the factories producing the vaccines and delays in delivery.
Three approved vaccines – more coming
Norway will receive an additional 2.4 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, with an option to obtain an additional 1.1 million doses.
This comes in addition to the 3.7 million doses Norway already has obtained in an agreement with the manufacturer. Up to 840,000 of the extra vaccine doses may arrive as early as April, May, and June.
Norway has an agreement to receive close to 2 million doses from Moderna’s vaccine, an agreement that can be extended. The AstraZeneca vaccine is also approved for use in Norway, with about 200,000 doses available initially.
On Feb. 12, it was also announced that the EU has started the processes that may end with the approval of the German Curevac vaccine, for which Norway has an agreement of around 2 million doses for 2021.
Other vaccines are also being considered by the EU, including Novavax and Janssen-Cilag. The EU has also been positive about the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which, according to the medical journal The Lancet, is 91.6% effective.
NIPH makes ongoing assessments of new vaccine information. The institute has prepared two vaccination scenarios, which must be updated regularly: one more sober and one more optimistic. Vold said the latest vaccine news is in line with the optimistic scenario.
“If everything goes smoothly and the vaccines being considered are approved, produced, and delivered as outlined, then we will be able offer vaccines to most people who are over 18 before the summer,” said Vold.
Translated by Lori Ann Reinhall
This article originally appeared in the Feb. 26, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.