Changes in the vaccine strategy
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The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) is now starting to allocate more vaccine doses to areas at particular risk for infection. The NIPH is also introducing a new distribution key for vaccines to the municipalities based on the number of people over the age of 18.
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Commissioned by the Government, the NIPH has considered which vaccine strategy will be most effective in the coming period. The Government has given its approval to both the vaccine redistribution and the new distribution key.
The NIPH believes that there are several arguments in favour of a geographically targeted distribution of vaccines for a period. They recommend a change in the vaccine strategy where extra vaccine doses are distributed to the areas that need more, and distribute the reduction as best as possible among other municipalities.
“The change means that more people will be vaccinated in the exposed areas earlier, without major delays for the rest of the country over time. The recommendation is based on a high infection burden and the number of hospital admissions over time for the municipalities and districts that are prioritised,” says Geir Bukholm, Director of the Division of Infection Control and Environmental Health at NIPH.
The geographical redistribution means that Oslo and four other municipalities with particularly high infection burden over time will receive an increase of 20 per cent more doses.
New distribution key
So far, the coronavirus vaccines have been distributed according to the number of inhabitants over the age of 65 in the municipalities. From now on, the distribution key will be based on the number of people in the municipality over 18 years of age.
“When many of the eldest have been vaccinated and protected, the plan has been to change the distribution key, and we believe that now is the right time,” says Bukholm.
He further explains that since the spread of a new and more contagious variant of the virus has come a long way, we must take the steps we can to ensure that the new virus variants do not have an unfortunate impact on the most densely populated areas.
The new distribution key means that most larger urban municipalities will receive more vaccines, while smaller municipalities with a larger proportion of older people will receive somewhat fewer. About 330 municipalities with the fewest hospital admissions will receive a relatively small reduction in the number of doses.
The municipalities that will receive the greatest increase are: Oslo, Gjesdal, Ullensaker, Nannestad, Sola, Sandnes, Tromsø, Klepp, Ås and Rælingen. The municipalities that will have the greatest decrease are: Ibestad, Beiarn, Osen, Bindal, Leka, Evenes, Rendalen, Fedje, Lødingen and Engerdal.