In Norway, vaccine rollout may be delayed to ease COVID-19 restrictions

In Norway, vaccine rollout may be delayed to ease COVID-19 restrictions


Norway will begin lifting some restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and allowing more people to congregate starting Friday, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Tuesday.

However, the launch of the vaccine in the country could be delayed by up to three months if the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson recordings are not used, according to the Norwegian Public Health Institute.

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Norway will begin lifting some restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and allowing more people to congregate starting Friday, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Tuesday.

However, the launch of the vaccine in the country could be delayed by up to three months if the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson recordings are not used, according to the Norwegian Public Health Institute.

Norway will announce on Thursday whether it will resume use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a small number of younger people vaccinated developed a combination of blood clots, bleeding and low platelet counts, some of which later died.

Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, said it was delaying its vaccine launch in Europe as U.S. health officials recommended discontinuing its use after six women under the age of 50 developed rare blood clots from the shot.

Norway had some of the lowest infection and death rates in Europe since the pandemic began, but imposed stricter measures after hospital stays rose in March due to more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

“The number of infections has now fallen. The number of hospital stays is lower. The measures seem to have had an effect,” said Solberg at a press conference.

As a result, Norwegians will again be able to receive up to five guests in private homes from Friday, from the current two, and restaurants can serve alcohol under certain conditions.

A maximum of 100 people may take part in indoor events, for example in theaters and sports arenas, provided that there are fixed seating arrangements and groups of up to 200 people can take part in outdoor events.

The relaxation of regulations at the national level will not affect those in areas of the Nordic country where the infection rate is highest, such as the Oslo area, Solberg said.

Non-essential shops in the Oslo area will remain closed and restaurants there will only be allowed to offer take-away and some schools will remain closed.

Line Vold, director of infection control and emergency preparedness at the Institute of Public Health, predicted an eight to twelve week delay in vaccinating Norwegians if AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson shots were avoided.

“It will mainly be for the younger groups (in the population). We will be done vaccinating people in risk groups,” she said at the same press conference.

The government previously announced that anyone 18 years or older would be offered the first vaccine by the end of July.

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