18-year-olds should be vaccinated with 44-year-olds, recommends NIPH
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Many people will be offered coronavirus vaccination in the period from May to August 2021. Norway expects to receive 5.7 million vaccine doses during these months. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) recommends that the youngest adults are vaccinated at the same time as 40-year-olds, and that the targeted, geographical distribution of vaccines should continue.
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“We are delighted to be able to offer a vaccine to all residents in Norway who are recommended coronavirus vaccination in the coming months. We believe that the geographical and age-related recommendations that we have given will contribute to effectively limit transmission and give protection in society,” says Geir Bukholm, Director of the Division of Infection Control and Environmental Health at the NIPH.
Vaccines should be offered to 18-24-year-olds at same time as 40-44 year age group
Based on new modelling results, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends a change in priority for vaccination of people in the group 18-44 years. Vaccination should take place in the following order:
- The 18-24 year age group is vaccinated at the same time as the 40-44 year age group
- The 35-39 year age group is vaccinated at the same time as the 25-34 year age group
“The modelling shows that it is beneficial to alternate between the oldest and the younger age groups. We therefore recommend offering the youngest adults vaccination at the same time as people in their early forties. It will also contribute to many students being vaccinated during the summer holidays and being protected before the start of the next semester,” explains Bukholm.
Geographically targeted distribution of vaccine doses results in fewer patients in Norway overall
The NIPH recommends continuing the targeted geographical distribution and giving more vaccine doses to areas with a high incidence of infection and many hospital admissions over time:
- 24 municipalities in Eastern Norway that have had a persistently high infection burden will receive 80 % more doses than they would have received based on the distribution key, until the groups over the age of 18 and without underlying diseases have been vaccinated.
“By prioritising vaccination of more people in the areas that have had many infected people over a long period of time, we will have fewer patients in Norway overall. We can also ensure a safer re-opening of society, especially in the areas that have had many infected people for a long time,” says Bukholm.
Separate distribution to different societal functions not recommended
Based on the current infection situation and the expected timeline until everyone over the age of 18 will have been offered vaccination, the NIPH and the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) recommend that a separate distribution of vaccines should not be implemented to people with critical and important societal functions, including people with frequent border crossings.
Until now, the elderly, people in risk groups and healthcare personnel have been prioritised in the vaccine queue. NIPH does not recommend prioritising other groups now.
“With the speed and extent that vaccination will have in the coming months, we do not recommend making a further distribution between residents with different societal functions,” says Bukholm
Many will be offered the vaccine during the summer months
Norway is expected to receive 1.2 million doses of mRNA vaccines in May, 1.4 million doses in June, 1.4 million doses in July and 1.7 million doses in August. NIPH and the healthcare service are concerned with predictability for the population so that they can plan holidays and be at home when they are offered a vaccine from their municipality of residence.
“This summer, many people will be offered coronavirus vaccination. The healthcare service is in the process of planning, and we are trying to provide as predictable a supply of vaccines as possible. We encourage the population to seize the opportunity when they are offered vaccination. In this way, we can achieve the goal of vaccinating the entire adult population during the summer,” concludes Geir Bukholm.