More people will be offered a booster dose
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On 12th November, the Government decided to offer a third booster dose to the population over the age of 18. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has evaluated how to implement this and the Government is following that recommendation.
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(This is the English version of Norwegian article published on 26.11.2021)
"The most important thing now is to offer a booster dose to those who are 65 years or older, and it will take some time before people over 45 years receive an offer. Vaccination of those under 45 should not be at the expense of those over 65," says Geir Bukholm, Assistant Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Everyone who works in the health and care service will offered a booster dose.
Bukholm adds that the municipalities should follow an order where those who have waited the longest are prioritised, which should include those with the greatest need for increased protection.
The NIPH's adjusted recommendation is in accordance with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)'s recent recommendation to consider offering a booster dose to those aged over 40 years, with priority to the elderly and vulnerable with the highest risk of a severe disease course.
More can become ill
The vast majority of fully vaccinated adults under the age of 65 are well protected against a severe disease course, even six months after the second dose, regardless of age and health status. This age group is still relatively well protected against becoming infected and having a mild disease course. However, the vaccines do not provide complete protection.
"With a high infection burden in society, as we are experiencing now, more people may become seriously ill, even though protection against a severe disease course is good for most people. It is important to remember that fully vaccinated people may be infected, and even those without symptoms may transmit the disease to the elderly and other vulnerable people," explains Bukholm.
The probability of a severe disease course among fully vaccinated people under the age of 45 is very low. The NIPH will continuously assess the need for additional doses in this age group.
All employees in the health and care service offered a booster dose
The recommendation for a booster dose for healthcare personnel has been extended to apply to all employees in the health and care service.
"It is demanding to define who does and does not have contact with the most vulnerable patient groups. Transmission is rising in many places, and therefore we are not limiting who should be offered a booster dose in the health service," says Bukholm.
Meanwhile, he concludes by encouraging employees in the health service, “Take a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and accept the offer of the influenza vaccine, so you can protect yourself and your patients better through the winter.”
Booster doses are offered 6 months after the second dose.