Historical archive

The Janssen vaccine on an optional basis

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Health and Care Services

The Norwegian Government has decided that the Janssen vaccine will be offered outside the COVID-19 vaccination programme. From 15 June, people will be able to book an appointment for an assessment by a doctor in private practice, a vaccination clinic, or a general practitioner who offers the vaccine.

Information in other languages (more languages will be published).

People who would like the Janssen vaccine should first visit helsenorge.no and read about the vaccine and who it can be offered to before they contact a doctor. 

‘The Norwegian Government believes that it is right to offer this vaccine on an optional basis to people who satisfy the criteria. In principle, we recommend that people follow the vaccination programme, but some people may have good reasons for wanting the Janssen vaccine’, says Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.

The Janssen vaccine has been approved by the European Medicines Agency, and is part of the vaccination programme in most countries in Europe. It is a single-dose vaccine, which means that people are fully vaccinated three weeks after receiving the dose. 

The Directorate of Health believes that the vaccine may be relevant in the following situations:

  • Necessary travel to a country with a high rate of infection or areas where the doctor finds that the benefits outweigh the risks associated with the Janssen vaccine.

  • People whose lives as an unvaccinated person are so difficult that the time until they are offered a different vaccine poses a risk to their life or health.

  • When a close relative has serious cancer or a close relative is receiving other immunosuppressive treatment and the doctor finds that the benefits outweigh the risks associated with the Janssen vaccine.

  • When the doctor has established a serious mental illness, risk to life, or considerable deterioration of quality of life as a result of long-term isolation and strict measures.

  • There may also be cases where doctors on the basis of an overall medical assessment, taking into account what they know about a person’s circumstances, conclude that the benefits to the individual outweigh the risk. Such an assessment must build on the person’s individual circumstances.

‘These are fairly strict criteria, which means that some people who wish to have this vaccine may be turned down by the doctor’, states Mr Høie.

Doctors are under no obligation to offer the vaccine
Doctors have the final say in the assessment of whether a patient should receive the Janssen vaccine or not. The patient has the right to be involved in the decision-making process, but cannot demand the vaccine. The vaccine and the vaccination will be offered free of charge.

Separate rates have been set for doctors’ reimbursements in connection with appointments and vaccination.

‘Doctors are not required to offer the Janssen vaccine, but the Norwegian Government has established a scheme to allow general practitioners, doctors in private practice, and travel vaccination clinics to prescribe the vaccine if they want to. Each doctor will perform a concrete assessment of the medical justifications for offering the vaccine to those who want it’, says Mr Høie.

The rare and severe side effects of the Janssen vaccine, each person's situation, the infection situation in Norway, and the fact that the Janssen vaccine is presumed to be slightly less effective than the vaccines in the vaccination programme are important factors in the assessment. The Patient Injury Act’s special rule regarding vaccines applies as well.

The state will cover the expenses
If they offer the vaccine, doctor's offices are encouraged to publish information on their website or the municipality's website about this in order to make it easier for people who want the vaccine to know who to contact.

Doctors who want to offer the vaccine can order it via the Norwegian Institute of Public Health's website.

The vaccine and the vaccination are free for individuals, and all expenses are covered by the state at set rates. Doctors are not allowed to charge an extra fee for administering this vaccine.

All vaccination in Norway is offered on a voluntary basis. The vaccination programme will offer all people in Norway over the age of 18 their first dose of the vaccine by early August. The programme uses vaccines from BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna. The opportunity to be considered for the Janssen vaccine outside the vaccination programme is therefore an optional arrangement.

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