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Article

Coronavirus vaccine - information for the public

The purpose of vaccination against COVID-19 is to prevent disease or to give a milder disease course without being exposed to serious side effects. We will inform about the effect and potential side effects so everyone can make an informed choice.

Folkehelseinstituttet
Folkehelseinstituttet

The purpose of vaccination against COVID-19 is to prevent disease or to give a milder disease course without being exposed to serious side effects. We will inform about the effect and potential side effects so everyone can make an informed choice.


Vaccination near me

Each municipality is responsible for offering coronavirus vaccination to people who live there. Check the website of your municipality to see how vaccination is carried out locally and when you will be offered the vaccine. Find the link to your municipality here:

The offer is available to everyone in recommended groups living in Norway, including foreign citizens. It also applies if you began primary vaccination abroad, but need to take more doses while you are living in Norway. It is not available to Norwegians or others living abroad.

Coronavirus vaccination is free. All vaccination in Norway is voluntary.

About vaccination

The solutions used for appointments vary between municipalities. In some places, drop-in vaccination is available without the need for an appointment. Check your municipality's website for information about the local arrangements. Contact your municipality if you need an interpreter or other special arrangements for vaccination.

Do not turn up for vaccination, and tell the centre as soon as possible, if on the day you have cold symptoms or a fever over 38 °C.

Tell the person giving the vaccine: 

  • if you have had earlier doses of coronavirus vaccine
  • if you have had COVID-19 disease and how long ago
  • you have received another vaccine within the last 7 days 

Before vaccination you will be asked to answer some questions about your health:

The vaccine is given by an injection in the upper arm. 

After you have had the vaccine, you will be asked to wait for 20 minutes in case you experience any reactions. Everyone who administers vaccines has had training and necessary medication will be available to treat possible allergic reactions.

It is not recommended to take another vaccine on the same day as the coronavirus vaccine. There should be at least 1 week between the coronavirus vaccine and other vaccines. If there is a strong need to take several vaccines at the same time, you should consult a doctor.

More information about the vaccines used in Norway, available in many languages:

Interval between dose 1 and 2 (primary vaccination)

We distinguish between the primary vaccination series and booster vaccination. For booster vaccines, see the separate section below.

For most groups who are offered the coronavirus vaccine, the primary vaccination series comprises of two doses. The second dose should be given after 3-12 weeks. It is important that you try to take the second dose at the scheduled time. The interval between doses can be important both for the degree of protection and for the validity of the COVID-19 certificate.  

Recommended minimum interval between dose 1 and 2 for vaccines offered in the Coronavirus Immunisation Programme

Vaccine

Number of doses to complete primary vaccination*

Recommended minimum interval between dose 1 and 2

Comirnaty (BioNTech and Pfizer)

2

21 days

Spikevax (Moderna)

2

28 days

Nuvaxovid (Novavax)

2

21 dager

Combination of Comirnaty, Spikevax or Nuvaxovid

2

28 days

*People who have had COVID-19 only need one vaccine dose to complete their primary vaccination series.

Combination of different vaccines

For all three vaccines offered in the coronavirus immunisation programme, two doses are required for the primary vaccination series. If it is difficult to give two doses with the same vaccine, or is requested for other reasons, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends combining the vaccines. When combining two different coronavirus vaccines in the primary vaccination series (doses 1 and 2), a minimum interval of 4 weeks between doses is recommended. No upper limit has yet been established for the interval between coronavirus vaccines.

Not everyone is given primary vaccination with two doses: 

* People who have had COVID-19 only need one vaccine dose to complete their primary vaccination series.

People with severely weakened immune systems (immunosuppressed) often have a poorer effect of vaccines than others. This means that many of these do not get a good enough effect from the first two doses. This group is therefore offered dose 3 in order to complete primary vaccination. For these, an interval between the 2nd and 3rd dose is recommended to be a minimum of 4 weeks. More information about this group can be found here:

Booster doses

Protection after primary vaccination with a coronavirus vaccine may diminish over time. A booster dose gives longer-term protection as well as a broader protection that can make us better prepared against new virus variants. 

Recommendation and offer of a first booster dose for people aged 18 and over

The advice about booster doses applies regardless of whether you have been vaccinated with: (a) two vaccine doses or b) had COVID-19 and one vaccine dose. In Norway, we consider both COVID-19 disease and vaccination to be equivalent "immunological events", as long as at least 3 weeks have passed between each of them. This means that an infection is equivalent to one vaccine dose. The interval between dose 2 (or having COVID-19) and the booster dose must be at least 20 weeks.

  • Everyone in the age group 45 years and older and nursing home residents is recommended to have one booster dose.
  • People 18 years and older who belong to the risk groups are recommended to have one booster dose.
  • All employees in the health and care service are recommended to have one booster dose.
  • Otherwise, healthy people aged 18-44 can have one booster dose.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health considers that confirmed COVID-19 disease among people who have had their primary vaccination series (under 65 years) more than 3 weeks after dose 2, can replace the medical need for a booster dose. However, people who want a booster dose despite having had COVID-19 after dose 2 can take it. This may be due to entry requirements to some countries, or for other reasons. For the age group 65 years and older, a booster dose is recommended if COVID-19 is detected before 3 months have passed since the dose.

People with severely impaired immune systems (immunosuppressed) follow a separate vaccination course.

Read more:

Booster doses for people with severe immune deficiency

People with severely weakened immune systems are recommended 3 doses in the primary vaccination series, plus one booster dose 3 months after dose 3.
 
For this patient group, there are still many who have not taken the recommended booster dose (dose 4). It is therefore important that more people do it, to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
 
In addition, some people with severely weakened immune systems, after assessment by their doctor, may be offered an additional booster dose. If it is relevant to vaccinate people with severely weakened immune systems beyond the 4 doses already recommended, the doctor can assess which vaccine and which dose interval is most appropriate. To achieve the benefit from a booster dose, an interval of minimum 3 months is recommended from the previous dose.

Advice on an additional booster dose for people 75 years and older, and nursing home residents

From 1 July 2022, people aged 75 and older and nursing home residents are recommended to take a new booster dose. The recommendation for a new booster dose for this age group applies regardless of whether or not you have had COVID-19 since the last dose. There should be a minimum of 3 weeks between a COVID-19 disease course and a new booster dose, but a longer interval will usually give a better immune response. A booster dose should be offered no earlier than 4 months after the last vaccine dose.

How do mRNA vaccines work? 

Two of the three approved coronavirus vaccines used in the coronavirus immunisation programme are mRNA vaccines; Comirnaty (from BioNTech/Pfizer) and Spikevax (from Moderna). 

The vaccines contains the recipe (messenger RNA, or mRNA) for the characteristic spikes on the coronavirus encased in small fat bubbles. The body uses this recipe to make harmless copies of these spikes for the immune system to practise on. In this way, the immune system learns to recognise the coronavirus spikes and can defend the body if it becomes infected with the virus.

The messenger RNA is rapidly broken down by the body and has no effect on the body's genetic material.

In addition, the vaccines contain substances to keep them stable during production, storage and transport, as well as to provide the right pH, which is important for reducing pain during injection. These substances are water, salts and sugar.

  • The vaccines do not contain live virus and do not cause COVID-19 disease. 
  • Antibiotics are not used in the production process, so the vaccines do not contain antibiotics or antibiotic residues.
  • The vaccines do not contain adjuvants, which are substances that are added to some vaccines to increase the immune system's response. The vaccines do not contain products derived from pigs. The vaccines do not contain mercury.

The coronavirus vaccines act to prevent disease. They cannot cure an ongoing illness.

More information about mRNA vaccines:

How does Nuvaxovid (Novavax) work?

The coronavirus vaccine Nuvaxovid (from Novavax) is a protein-based vaccine based on a traditional vaccine technology. Similar technology is used in vaccine against hepatitis B and whooping cough. It contains a variant of the characteristic spikes (spike protein) on the coronavirus that the immune system can practise on. This is how the body learns to recognise and defend itself against real coronavirus if you later become infected.

The vaccine also contains a new ingredient (adjuvant) containing saponins from soap bark and fats (cholesterol and phospholipids). This helps to enhance the body's own immune response to get the best possible effect from the vaccine. Nuvaxovid also contains an emulsifier (Polysorbate 80) which ensures that fats and water in the adjuvant remain evenly mixed.

In addition, the vaccine contains water, various salts and sugar compounds that will keep it stable during production, storage and transport, as well as provide the right pH that is important for reducing pain during injection.

  • The vaccine does not contain live viruses and does not cause coronavirus disease.
  • Antibiotics are not used in the production process, so the vaccines do not contain antibiotics or antibiotic residues.
  • The vaccine does not contain products from pigs and does not contain mercury.

The coronavirus vaccine has a preventive effect. It cannot cure an ongoing illness.

More information about Nuvaxovid:

Vaccine against coronavirus - Nuvaxovid (Novavax)
Coronavirus vaccine from Novavax will be available in week 10 (News, NIPH)

Vaccination with different coronavirus vaccines

The coronavirus immunisation programme in Norway uses the two mRNA vaccines from BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna (see above), and the protein-based vaccine Nuvaxovid from Novavax. For most people, two doses are needed to complete the primary vaccination series, and several groups are also recommended to have a booster dose to get the best possible protection. Some will be offered, or request, a different coronavirus vaccine as dose 2 or as a booster vaccine than the one they began with. In principle, you are recommended to accept the vaccine you are offered, but it is also possible to choose which type of vaccine you want to take.

Side effects and symptoms after vaccination

The coronavirus vaccines can cause side effects in many of those vaccinated, but they are mostly mild / moderate and pass after a few days. For some, the symptoms may be more severe. The mRNA vaccines appear to cause more of the common side effects than other vaccines. Nuvaxovid generally has slightly milder side effects with a shorter duration than the mRNA vaccines.The side effects after all three coronavirus vaccines usually occur during the first 1-2 days after vaccination. Common side effects are pain and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, joint pain and fever. Allergic reactions occur in some people. There is good knowledge about common side effects after vaccination, but rare side effects cannot be ruled out.

Among the rarer side effects reported from mRNA vaccines are inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) and inflammation of the pericardium (pericarditis). The condition most often occurs among adolescents and young adults. It also seems to occur more often with the use of Spikevax (Moderna) than with Comirnaty (BioNTech/Pfizer). When offering mRNA vaccines to people under 30 years, the NIPH recommends the use of Comirnaty for both men and women.

Among those who experience these rare symptoms, they usually appear within a week after the second dose, and are temporary so that most people recover within one month. The condition causes chest pain, wheezing, palpitations and fever. In case of such symptoms, consult a doctor for a medical examination. Norwegian cardiologists consider that COVID-19 disease can cause more serious heart effects in some people than after the vaccine, and that this rare side effect should not prevent adolescents from being offered the vaccine.

Cases of menstrual disorders have been reported as a possible side effect in young women following coronavirus vaccination. This is being closely monitored.

Symptoms that occur in the period after vaccination are not always due to the vaccine. Vaccine side effects can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from symptoms of infections or other diseases. If you experience unexpected, severe or prolonged symptoms after vaccination, you should contact your doctor or other healthcare professional for assessment and advice. Healthcare professionals have a duty to report serious or unknown reactions that they suspect are due to a vaccine. You can also send a message via the form via helsenorge.no.

Follow-up of side effects

When vaccines are developed, the goal is always for vaccines to give the best possible effect with the fewest possible side effects. Even if the new vaccines are tested thoroughly, rare side effects cannot be ruled out. Some side effects are only discovered when vaccines are in wider use, and have been given to many more people and to more varied groups than in the studies.

After the vaccines are in use, the Norwegian Medicines Agency, together with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, will monitor closely whether any unexpected side effects arise. There is also extensive international collaboration with the other countries that use the same vaccines. In addition, the vaccine manufacturers are required to conduct new systematic safety studies.

What happens to the notifications about side effects?

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) collaborates with the Regional Medicine Information and Pharmacovigilance Centres (RELIS) to process reports of suspected side effects from healthcare personnel. The notifications are entered in the ADR Registry at the Norwegian Medicines Agency.

The Norwegian Medicines Agency publishes regular reports with an overview of reports of suspected adverse reactions after vaccination in Norway.

Notifications from healthcare professionals are thoroughly assessed to find out if the incident may be due to the vaccine, or if it happened at the same time as vaccination. It is important to be aware that events that coincide in time are not necessarily due to vaccination. Therefore, a medical examination is recommended to check for other explanations for the events. In some cases, it can be difficult to conclude whether an event is due to a vaccine or coincidence based on one or a few single events. 

Protection and immunity after vaccination

  • All three vaccines used in the coronavirus immunisation programme protect against COVID-19 disease. 

  • The vaccines have a very good effect against a COVID-19 disease course that is so serious that hospital treatment is needed. This means that in those cases where people have COVID-19 despite vaccination, the vaccine can contribute to a milder disease course. This also seems to apply to the omicron variant. However, vaccination does not provide as good protection against infection with the omicron variant. The protection is poorer and shorter in duration than against the delta variant.

  • We are closely monitoring the duration of protection in different groups. Adults over 45 years and those with underlying conditions are recommended to have a booster dose because protection diminishes over time, see above.

  • Although vaccinated people have a much lower risk than unvaccinated people of getting COVID-19, vaccinated people could also be infected and transmit infection further. Therefore, it is important that vaccinated people follow the current infection control advice.

Virus variants

Until now, the vaccines have had a good effect against the various mutated virus variants. It is currently uncertain how good the protection will be against the omicron variant.

Although recent data suggest a lower vaccine effect against mild disease for some of the virus variants, vaccination may still give good protection against a severe disease course.

If we get virus variants where the vaccines do not work, then the vaccines can be adapted to improve the degree of protection.

Vaccination of pregnant and breastfeeding women

Vaccination of children and adolescents

Children and adolescents rarely have a severe COVID-19 disease course, although some may be admitted to hospital. Vaccination can reduce this risk.

Of the mRNA vaccines, the vaccine from BioNTech / Pfizer (Comirnaty) is used for people under 30 years. Children 5–11 years will be offered child doses of the vaccine. Immunity following infection, with or without a single dose of vaccine, can also provide broad and lasting protection in children and adolescents.

The following recommendations (should) and offers (can) for coronavirus vaccination apply to children and adolescents:

Who

How

Adolescents born 2003, 2004 and 2005

  • Everyone should be given primary vaccination with 2 doses of coronavirus vaccine
  • 8–12 week intervals between doses
  • Those who have previously undergone COVID-19 are recommended 1 dose of coronavirus vaccine
  • Those who have reached 18 years can take a booster dose if they wish and it has been at least 20 weeks after the last dose of the primary vaccination series.
  • Adolescents with severely impaired immune systems should have a primary vaccination series with 3 doses.

Children and adolescents 5–15 years with severe underlying disease

  • Should be given primary vaccination with 2 doses of coronavirus vaccine 
  • 8–12 week intervals between doses
  • Adapted vaccination regimens (down to an interval of 3 weeks) are appropriate for some children with severe underlying conditions, based on medical assessment.
  • Children and adolescents with severely impaired immune systems should have a primary vaccination series with 3 doses.

Children and adolescents born 2006-2009

  • Can be vaccinated with both 1 and 2 doses if they and parents wish
  • Dose 1 will reduce the already low risk of a severe COVID-19 disease course
  • Dose 2 may also be beneficial, but the additional effect is limited as the risk of severe disease is very low after the first vaccine dose.
  • Dose 2 is particularly relevant for those who have chronic diseases, have close contact with vulnerable people, or are staying in or travelling to countries that require 2 doses in a COVID-19 certificate for this age group (does not apply to all countries).
  • If dose 2 is given, there should be an interval of 8-12 weeks. Vaccination has the same effect even though there is a longer interval between doses.

Children born 2010-2016, and those born in 2017 who have reached 5 years.

  • Can be vaccinated with both 1 and 2 doses if they and their parents wish. Vaccine is particularly relevant for:
    • Children with chronic diseases
    • Families where children have close contact with people with particular need for protection
    • Children who have an increased risk because they will move to or stay in countries with a higher risk of transmission or poorer access to health services than in Norway, or children who for other reasons live in a very vulnerable situation
  • For those who choose the vaccine, the NIPH considers that one dose provides the best benefit-disadvantage balance in this age group.
  • If dose 2 is given, there should be an interval of 8-12 weeks. Vaccination has the same effect even though there is a longer interval between doses.

Children under 5 years of age

  • The coronavirus vaccines are not approved for children under 5 years of age

Other countries may require more vaccine doses for children and adolescents than recommended upon arrival. 

Read more about the recommendation for 16-17-year-olds:

Read more about the recommendation for 5-15-year-olds:

About consent from parents and the child's right to co-determination

Those who have reached the age of 16 are of legal age and can consent to vaccination themselves. For children who are offered the coronavirus vaccine, but have not yet reached 16 years of age), parents must consent to vaccination. In the case of joint parental responsibility, both must consent. Children and adolescents under 16 should be consulted, based on age and maturity and their opinion should be given weight. Vaccination is voluntary.

Right to tailored information

Children have the right to receive tailored information. Parents should talk to their children about the decision to vaccinate and help to convey important information about this. The texts below and the links to tailored information material are intended to assist in this.

Questions and answers about vaccination of 5-15-year-olds:

Why are children aged 5-15 offered a coronavirus vaccine?

The NIPH does not have a general recommendation for the coronavirus vaccine for children aged 5-15 years, but it is available. Those who want to take the vaccine can choose whether they want 1 or 2 doses. The NIPH considers that when children have COVID-19, it provides at least as good protection as vaccination. Children who have had an infection therefore do not need a vaccine to protect themselves against a new infection.

The NIPH's assessments for children aged 5-15 where they and their parents want a vaccine, but the child has had COVID-19:

  • Those who have had COVID-19 and would otherwise choose 1 vaccine dose do not need more because 1 dose of vaccine corresponds to the protection from having had COVID-19.
  • Those who have had COVID-19 and would otherwise choose 2 vaccine doses only need 1 vaccine dose since having had COVID-19 corresponds to 1 vaccine dose (as long as at least 3 weeks have passed between the positive test and the vaccine).

Other countries may have stricter requirements in connection with entry restrictions. If you need a valid COVID-19 certificate for travel, you must check which requirements apply for children at your destination. 

Can vaccination of children against coronavirus reduce transmission in society?

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health considers that the societal benefit of vaccinating children should not be given as much weight as the individual benefit. Vaccination of children 5-11 years, and a second dose to 12-15-year-olds may have some effect on transmission. However, the vaccine's effect against transmission of the omicron variant appears to be lower and has a shorter duration than against previous virus variants. Therefore, the effect on transmission by vaccinating the entire child population will be limited, when the infection will transmit regardless among the vaccinated.

How ill can 5-15 year olds become from coronavirus?

The risk of a severe COVID-19 disease course among healthy children is very low. There is no evidence that the omicron variant causes more severe disease among children than previous variants. The immune systems of children in this age group work faster and more effectively than in adults. They therefore become less ill, and recover faster than adults.
Severe COVID-19 disease in children is particularly associated with a rare inflammatory condition called MIS-C. It is estimated that the condition occurs in about 1 in 3,000 infected children, and is more common in children of primary school age than in adolescents. The hallmarks of MIS-C are persistent high fever and inflammatory reaction in several organs that occur 2-6 weeks after infection, and the children need hospital treatment. There is effective treatment for the condition, but the most serious cases still need intensive care. Hospital stays for these children last 5 days (median) in Norway. Follow-up 4-9 months after MIS-C internationally indicates a good prognosis, and this is also the experience in Norway.

People who have had COVID-19 disease may, in some cases, have persistent symptoms for a long time afterwards. In adults, a clear correlation has been seen between the severity of acute COVID-19 disease and the severity of long term problems. It may seem that such late effects are less common in children than in adults, but knowledge about this is limited. The most commonly reported symptoms are fatigue, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, stuffy nose, sleep problems and pain. The number of reported symptoms appears to decrease over time.

Do children get better protection from COVID-19 disease than from the vaccine?

Immunity following infection, with or without a dose of vaccine, can provide broad and lasting protection in children and adolescents. It may be an advantage for protection against new virus variants in the future as the risk of a severe disease course in this age group is low.

Which vaccine is offered to the 5-15 year age group?

In Norway, children and adolescents are only offered the Comirnaty vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer, even though Spikevax from Moderna has been approved from the age of 12 and up. This is to minimize the risk of rare side effects in the form of heart inflammation. It is also one of the most widely used coronavirus vaccines in children. Comirnaty is approved from 5 years and upwards and the age group 5-11 years will receive an adapted child dosage.

How good protection do 5-15-year-olds get from coronavirus vaccine?

Children receive very good protection from the coronavirus vaccine. The protection against a severe disease course is good already three weeks after vaccination with one dose. This age group generally has a very good effect of vaccines, and it will probably be better than for older age groups. This also applies to the omicron variant. The vaccine's protection against becoming infected and against mild illness is lower than against serious illness.

What side effects can 5-15 year olds get from COVID-19 disease?

The vast majority of side effects occur 1-2 days after vaccination, are mild / moderate and disappear after a few days. For some, the symptoms may be more severe. The coronavirus vaccines cause more of the common side effects than other vaccines. Younger people often have slightly more severe side effects than older people.

Common side effects are injection and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, joint pain and fever. Children aged 5-11 years more often experience pain at the injection site, but slightly less common side effects such as fatigue, headache, muscle aches and fever compared to adolescents and young adults. Allergic reactions occur in some people, including children and adolescents.

Among the rarer side effects reported are inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) and inflammation of the pericardium (pericarditis). The condition most often occurs in adolescents and young adults, but is also described in children aged 5-11 years. The condition occurs primarily after the second vaccine dose, and is more common in men than in women. The symptoms are chest pain, wheezing, palpitations and fever. It usually occurs within a week after vaccination. Most of those who get this condition are admitted to hospital for a few days. The prognosis is good and most people recover within one month. In case of symptoms that may be compatible with inflammation of the heart muscle or pericardium, you must consult a doctor to be examined. Norwegian cardiologists have assessed that COVID-19 disease may cause more severe cardiac effects in some people than the vaccine, and that this rare side effect should not prevent children from being offered the vaccine.

Cases of menstrual disturbances have been reported as a possible side effect after coronavirus vaccine. Preliminary results from a population study in Norway show that there may be an increased incidence of menstrual disorders in young women aged 18-30 years after coronavirus vaccination. After the first dose, most menstrual disorders were transient, for the second dose the follow-up in the study is still ongoing. Knowledge of the corresponding incidence under the age of 18 is limited and the interpretation of the data is particularly demanding in the youngest age group because it is normal to have an irregular cycle in the time after the first menstruation. There is no suspicion that the vaccines affect women's fertility.

There is less experience with coronavirus vaccination of children 5 -11 years than there is for the other age groups. We cannot rule out hitherto unknown side effects for this age group, rare side effects or side effects that arise long after vaccination.

Can children who have had COVID-19 disease be vaccinated?

Immunity following infection, with or without a dose of vaccine, can provide broad and lasting protection in children and adolescents. In Norway, we consider both COVID-19 disease and vaccination to be equivalent to "immunological events", as long as at least 3 weeks have passed between each of them. This means that the infection is equivalent to one dose of vaccine. Having had COVID-19 plus one vaccine dose is equivalent to two vaccine doses.

It is possible for those who want two vaccine doses to have them, despite having had COVID-19. This may be due to entry requirements to some countries or other non-medical reasons.

How do I get vaccinated?

The organisation will vary between the municipalities. See your municipality's website for information about the local offer.

How do I get an overview of vaccination status in children and adolescents?

For children under the age of 16, the parents can see the vaccines the child has received by logging in to the vaccine service on helsenorge.no and choosing the child in question.

Those who have reached the age of 16 are of legal age and can consent to vaccination themselves. For younger children (including those born in 2005, but not yet 16 years of age), parental consent must be obtained. In the case of joint parental responsibility, there must be consent from both parents.

Since the legal age of majority in Norway is 16 years, parents do not have access to their child's immunisation status after their 16th birthday. Buypass ID is available from the age of 13 years. Adolescents with this ID can check their vaccines themselves by logging in to the vaccine service at helsenorge.no.

Adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18 years who do not have a BuyPass ID can order a vaccination card directly from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. NB! This is NOT a COVID-19 certificate.

Read more about how to order a COVID-19 certificate:

Vaccination after having COVID-19

People with valid documentation of having COVID-19 from Norway

It is not yet clear how long the immunity from having had COVID-19 lasts.

People who have had COVID-19 before their first dose of vaccine are considered to have completed the primary vaccination series after one vaccine dose if the interval between the positive test and vaccination is 3 weeks or more. If the interval is shorter than 3 weeks, the vaccine dose will still count. The person will then be considered to have completed primary vaccination after their second dose, provided that the interval between vaccine doses is in accordance with the absolute minimum interval.

The advice about booster doses applies regardless of whether the primary vaccination series is completed with either two vaccine doses or having had COVID-19 plus one vaccine dose (see the section about booster doses).

Adolescents aged 12-15 years who have had COVID-19 disease are not currently recommended to be vaccinated. Read more about recommendations for adolescents aged 12-15:

People without valid documentation of having COVID-19 from Norway

If you had COVID-19 while you were abroad, or suspect that you have had it either in Norway or abroad, you can take an antibody serology test performed at a microbiological laboratory (i.e. not a rapid antigen test) in Norway. This will then be registered in the MSIS Laboratory database and therefore shown on Helsenorge. The antibody test must be taken at the latest on the same day as the first dose is given, to give a valid COVID-19 certificate based on the combination of infection and one dose of vaccine. This applies regardless of how long it has been since the suspected infection, as long as at least 3 weeks have passed. Together with documentation of having received one vaccine dose, this is sufficient for you to be considered to have completed primary vaccination.

As there is no requirement for a maximum interval between the disease and the vaccine (for one vaccine dose to be sufficient to complete primary vaccination), a PCR / equivalent test or rapid antigen test is not required (these differ from the antibody tests in that they document the timepoint of disease - by detecting antigens, they document the presence of viral material at the time of testing). For the COVID-19 certificate, data on antibody tests will be obtained from MSIS and linked to SYSVAK.

However, antibody test results will not give a valid COVID-19 certificate based on having the disease alone, because there is a requirement that the disease must be a maximum of 6 months back in time. Since PCR or antigen rapid tests are the only tests that can document disease at a specific time, only these tests are approved for a certificate based on having had the disease.

Vaccination of people who are sick, on medication or have allergies

It is common to postpone vaccination in cases of acute illness and with a fever above 38 °C.

Mast cell disease or uncontrolled asthma: If you have a mast cell disease, ask your doctor for an individual assessment, and of how you should be followed up both before and during vaccination.

Previous allergic reaction to COVID-19 vaccine or other serious allergic reaction to other vaccines, food, medicines, etc.: Contact your doctor for a personal assessment. If a doctor recommends that you be vaccinated, special precautions and a longer period of observation after vaccination may be necessary in order to manage any allergic reactions.

Increased bleeding tendency: If you are taking blood-thinning medication, you can be vaccinated in the normal way. If your bleeding tendency has increased due to another underlying medical condition, you should contact your doctor for an individual assessment. If you have haemophilia and are being treated with coagulation factor, you should be vaccinated on the same day as you receive your last dose of coagulation factor.

Severely impaired immunity: If you have severe immunodeficiency or are taking medications which severely impair your immune system, for example, due to haematological cancer, bone marrow transplant, organ transplant, etc., a shorter interval between doses is recommended for some vaccines. Tell the vaccination centre that you belong to this group, so they can adjust your vaccination schedule accordingly. If you are
unsure whether or not you belong to the group, consult the doctor who is treating you for advice.

Breastfeeding and pregnancy: Vaccination is recommended for breastfeeding women, there is no known risk of transfer of coronavirus vaccines to breast milk. Studies indicate that coronavirus vaccination is safe for both the pregnant woman and the foetus.
Vaccination is recommended for all pregnant women, regardless of trimester. 

Why do we vaccinate?

Having undergone an infectious disease will often provide some protection (immunity) against reinfection, but some diseases can cause such a strong inflammatory reaction in the body that, for some people, it can become dangerous. Some people become severely ill and may die, or have serious medical complications.

A vaccine gives the body something to practise on that resembles the disease virus, but that cannot cause the disease. The immune system is stimulated so the body can recognise and fight the virus. The vaccine quickly disappears from the body but has taught the body to defend itself if it is later exposed to infection. We can easily and effectively protect ourselves against some of the dangerous infectious diseases, without having to be exposed to the risk of having the disease.

In addition, vaccination can help to limit transmission in society.

What is meant by primary vaccination, booster vaccination and partial vaccination?

Those who have completed their primary vaccination series (referred to in the COVID regulations as "fully vaccinated" include:

  • Those who have received a second dose of vaccine. Status as vaccinated with primary vaccination series applies from 1 week after the second vaccine dose.
  • Those who have had COVID-19 and at least 3 weeks later have received one dose of vaccine. Status as vaccinated with primary vaccine series applies from 1 week after the vaccine dose.
  • Those who have received a single-dose vaccine, with effect from 3 weeks after vaccination.
  • Those who received the first dose of vaccine and then, at least 3 weeks later, were diagnosed with COVID-19 infection. Status as vaccinated with primary vaccination series applies from the time the person is out of isolation.
  • Those who have confirmed antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 by an approved laboratory method (with an antibody serology in a microbiological laboratory), and then received one vaccine dose. The vaccine dose may be given the same day as the test at the earliest. Status as vaccinated with primary vaccine series is valid 1 week following vaccination. 

Those who are booster vaccinated are:

  • Those who received an extra vaccine dose(s) after their primary vaccination series.

Those who are considered “partially vaccinated” are:

  • Those who have received the first dose of a vaccine (in a multi-dose regimen) at least 3 weeks ago.

  • If the protection decreases over time, the advice may change.

The list of vaccines that are approved for the COVID-19 certificate can be found on this page (in Norwegian):

Coronavirus vaccine with another vaccine

It is not recommended to take another vaccine on the same day as the coronavirus vaccine. There should be at least one week between taking the coronavirus vaccine and other vaccines. If it is necessary to take several vaccines at once, you should consult a doctor.

Coronavirus vaccine and testing

You will not be tested for coronavirus before vaccination to find out if you have previously had a coronavirus infection. You will be recommended a vaccine if you belong to the recommended groups. If you have had COVID-19 disease without knowing it, it is still okay to get vaccinated. However, for people who are completely unvaccinated with coronavirus vaccine, it is possible to take a test to find out if they have previously had COVID-19 disease.

For more information about vaccination of people who have had COVID-19, please see:

It is not planned that those who are vaccinated through the coronavirus immunisation programme in Norway will be tested after vaccination to test the effect of the vaccine.

Coronavirus vaccination does not affect the result of a coronavirus test, both PCR test and rapid antigen test. If a vaccinated person has to be tested against the coronavirus, the results of the test can be considered to be reliable.

Post-registration of coronavirus vaccines

How are EMA-approved coronavirus vaccines given outside Norway post-registered?

In the ongoing corona pandemic, we initially focused on making sure that vaccinations given in Norway were registered in SYSVAK, according to the SYSVAK registry regulations § 1-3 on maintaining an overview of vaccination coverage in the population.

If you were given an EMA-approved vaccine in another country, a COVID-19 certificate issued in the EU / EEA should primarily be used for border crossing, contact tracing and quarantine.

If you intend to stay in Norway for a longer period or have moved back, COVID-19 vaccinations approved in the EU can be post-registered in SYSVAK provided there is credible written documentation.

Who can you contact to post-register coronavirus vaccine(s) in SYSVAK?

  • General practitioner (doctor)
  • Municipal health service (see Implementation above)
  • Private health service 

What documentation do you need?

  • COVID-19 certificate issued in the EU / EEA
  • Written documentation of vaccination

How do you do this?

  • Request a consultation with a healthcare professional in one the above services (video or physical consultation).
  • Residents must log in to Helsenorge to check the COVID-19 certificate (the time taken to update the information on Helsenorge varies due to different medical record systems, but usually within 24 hours).

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health cannot post-register vaccines on behalf of private individuals.

Vaccination cards and COVID-19 certificates

Vaccination card

A vaccination card is a documentation of which vaccines you have been given (in Norway) and are registered for you. You can log in to the vaccine service at helsenorge.no and download your electronic vaccination card. Coronavirus vaccination will also be visible on the card.

Vaccination cards are available in Norwegian and English.

COVID-19 certificate

Both the EU authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) are considering the possibility of introducing a global vaccination certificate/"passport" for those who have been vaccinated against coronavirus (as for yellow fever vaccination). The idea is that this could give certain rights, for example, to fly, cross borders and participate in events.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, in collaboration with the Norwegian Directorate of Health, the Directorate for e-Health, the Norwegian Health Network SF and other relevant actors, has been commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Care Services (HOD) to map the requirements and possible solutions for establishing an international vaccine passport.

Statistics

The number of registered doses in the Norwegian Immunisation Registry SYSVAK, is published on this page (currently only in Norwegian). The statistics show the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 in SYSVAK. 

AstraZeneca vaccine removed from coronavirus immunisation programme

Janssen-vaccine not used in coronavirus immunisation programme

History

01.07.2022: New paragraph about advice for booster dose for over 75 year olds, otherwise small adjustments to text.

28.04.2022: Removed text about Vaxzevria into its own article and linked up from here.

22.04.2022: Updated text as per Norwegian version. News text about booster doses

06.04.2022: Updated paragraph about breastfeeding and pregnancy

08.03.2022: Removed section about Janssen vaksine - now published as a separate article.

28.02.2022: Added information that Nuvaxovid does not contain antibiotics or products from pigs.

16.02.2022: Imported text from an archived article from the coronavirus guidelines - sections What advice applies if you are vaccinated or have had COVID-19 before and have newly-arisen respiratory tract symptoms? and What is meant by primary vaccination, booster vaccination and partial vaccination?

28.01.2022: Advice about 3rd dose to people with severe immunodeficiency now applies to all age groups

26.01.2022: Adjusted wording in the table on vaccination of children and adolescents so that «if dose 2 is given, there should be an interval of 8-12 weeks. Vaccination still has the same effect even if there is a longer interval between doses ». Previous text was that «it is an advantage to have a long interval of more than 12 weeks after the first dose. This is to reduce the risk of side effects».

24.01.2022: Updated sentence: Adolescents 5–15 years with severe underlying disease (was 12-15)

20.01.2022: The section about booster doses has been expanded with more informasjon for those who have had COVID-19 and booster doses.

20.01.2022: Expanded answer to "Why are children aged 5-15 offered a coronavirus vaccine?"

14.01.2022: Updated text in line with expanded vaccine offer for children announced today. The section on protection and immunity after vaccination has been adjusted with updated information on the effect of the vaccines against the omicron variant.

12.01.2022: New sentence about Comirnaty being offered to men and women under 30. The terms full/basic vaccination replaced with primary vaccination series.

12.01.2022: Replaced basic/full vaccination with primary vaccination series

21.12.2021: Updated text about booster doses

15.12.2021: Updated text about 5-11 year-olds

15.12.2021: The interval between dose 2 and the booster dose must be at least 20 weeks.

07.12.2021: Updated this sentence: The interval between the last dose in the basic vaccination (for most people dose 2) and the booster dose is a minimum of 5 months for everyone who is recommended a booster dose.

03.12.2021: Article reviewed, updates in several sections, including intervals, booster doses, different vaccines, side effects, mutations, children and adolescents

26.11.2021: Corrected interval table - minimum 5 months

24.11.2021: Updated sentence: Therefore, they are offered a booster dose a minimum of 5 months after dose 2. 

10.11.2021: Updates to several sections - what can vaccinated people do, protection and immunity, vaccination of people who are sick, on medication and allergic, people who have had COVID-19, intervals - third dose and booster doses

05.10.2021: Changed the recommended interval to 12 weeks for 16-17-year-olds, and added a footnote that it can be shortened down to 8 weeks if practical conditions so require.

04.09.2021: Added text about the offer of coronavirus vaccine for adolescents 12-15 years. Removed sentence that you should not show up at the vaccination site if you are waiting for a test result. Otherwise some minor adjustments and text editing that do not entail any change in existing advice and recommendations.

02.09.2021: Updated text about vaccines to children

25.08.2021: Updated section about children and adolescents

19.08.2021: Removed sentence about not attending vaccination if pregnant

18.08.2021: Updated with information about vaccination of 16-17-year-olds.

17.08.2021: Updated text about intervals. Updated text about documentation of recovery from COVID-19

29.07.2021: New section about intervals. Added link to news article about mixing mRNA vaccines

26.07.2021: Change in sentence to reflect Norwegian text "The antibody test must be taken at the latest on the same day as the first dose is given" (changed from "day before").

02.07.2021: Removed text about pregnancy and breastfeeding and added a link to a page with further information

02.07.2021: In addition, vaccination helps to limit transmission in society so that we can all gradually return to a more normal daily life.

28.06.2021: Updated section: People with valid documentation of having COVID-19 from Norway

21.06.2021: Added paragraph about combinations of coronavirus vaccines. Changed from 9 to 12 week interval

17.06.2021: Specified that antibody testing must be taken no later than the day before vaccination for a valid COVID-19 certificate based on the combination of confirmed COVID-19 and one dose of vaccine.

16.06.2021: New section: Post-registration of coronavirus vaccines

09.06.2021: Updated text about AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines

08.06.2021: New section: People without valid documentation of having COVID-19 from Norway

07.06.2021: Changed interval between vaccines from 12 to 9 weeks, following Government announcement

21.05.2021: Some restructuring of text, cut down on text,

19.05.2021: Updated text about vaccine from AstraZeneca

11.05.2021: About vaccination: added sentence about people in entry quarantine and vaccination What can vaccinated people do - updated text and link to article.

30.04.2021: Updated with information on 12-week interval for the mRNA vaccine for people under 65 years without underlying disease

29.04.2021: New paragraph about what vaccinated people can do. Updated paragraph about pregnancy.

22.04.2021: Paragraphs about viral vector vaccines updated

19.04.2021: Small adjustments throughout article, as per Norwegian version

31.03.2021: updated text with interval of 6 weeks for Moderna and Pfizer vaccines

15.03.2021: New section about AstraZeneca vaccine being put on hold.

10.03.2021 Updated section on vaccination after having COVID-19 and section on protection from viral vector vaccines.

18.02.2021: New paragraphs: "Why do we vaccinate?" "How the viral vector vaccines work / ingredients" "Coronavirus vaccination and testing" "Mutated virus variants." Updated section "Protection and immunity after vaccination" "vaccination cards and certificates"

15.02.2021: Updated section about "Choice of Vaccine"

12.02.2021: New sections added: "Doctor in another municipality", "What happens to the notifications about side effects?", "Effect on society", "After vaccination - stay at home or be tested for symptoms?", "Beta-blockers".

09.02.2021: Added link to information brochure about COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca

08.02.2021: Added link to "If you experience symptoms after vaccination"

04.02.2021: Added information about AstraZeneca coming soon. Changed link for self-reporting to helsenorge

01.02.2021: Added information about ingredients, increased bleeding tendency, testing before vaccination and choice of vaccine.

22.01.2021: Added link to "Who will get the vaccine?"

18.01.2021: General updates according to Norwegian version.

12.01.2021: Updated text about pregnancy and breastfeeding. Added link to Moderna vaccine.

05.01.2021 Updated text, removed some text that is found in the "Who will get the vaccine?"article.

02.01.2021 Added text to section about Effect regarding uncertainty until more people are vaccinated.

15.12.2020 Added text about vaccination cards and vaccination certificates.

04.12.2020 Updated text