Increased pace of vaccination

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Administering more booster doses is a matter of urgency. The Norwegian Government is now asking the Norwegian Armed Forces to aid municipalities that need help with the vaccination effort. It will also become easier for the municipalities to receive help with vaccination from pharmacies.

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‘It is our goal that all people over the age of 45 are offered a booster dose by the end of week 2, i.e. mid-January. We will be applying new means to achieve this objective. The municipalities are doing excellent work, but they are under great pressure. The Norwegian Government is asking the Norwegian Armed Forces to put together teams that can help municipalities with the vaccination effort. Voluntary organisations, dentists, employees in the occupational health service, and health personnel at hospitals can form part of such teams,’ says Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

‘Vaccination saves lives. The people who are being admitted to hospital now are primarily unvaccinated, or elderly people who have only received two doses. This shows how important it is for people to accept the booster dose. We expect the booster dose to provide protection against serious illness, also the Omicron variant,’ says Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol.

It is most critical to vaccinate all people over the age of 65, people aged 18-64 with a high risk of developing serious illness as a result of COVID-19, and employees of the health and care service. It is necessary that employees in the health service receive a booster dose to protect them and their patients. The Norwegian Government is also asking the municipalities to prioritise employees over the age of 45 in kindergartens and schools once they have finished vaccinating the risk groups over the age of 65.

‘The pharmacies have said that they are ready to help with vaccination. The collaboration between municipalities and pharmacies is being simplified by drafting a standard agreement which the municipalities can use when needed. It will now be easier for the municipalities to use pharmacies to help vaccinate the population,’ says Ms Kjerkol.

The minimum interval between the second dose and the booster dose is also being reduced to 4.5 months for people down to the age of 45, adults with a high risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of COVID-19, and employees in the health and care service. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health will dispatch extra vaccine doses to the municipalities before Christmas, so that they are able to vaccinate all people down to the age of 45, with an interval of 4.5 months between the second dose and the booster dose.

‘I would like to point out the importance of health personnel quickly receiving a booster dose, both within the municipal and the specialist health services. I would also like to strongly encourage people who have not accepted the first or second dose yet to get vaccinated. The municipalities are doing a huge job vaccinating the population, and the Omicron variant has amplified the importance of this work,’ says Ms Kjerkol.