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  • Coronavirus vaccine

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 in your municipality

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.

Do not turn up for vaccination if, on the day:

  • you have cold symptoms, fever over 38 °C or other symptoms of an infectious disease 
  • are in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 disease
  • you have received another vaccine within the last 7 days 
  • have had COVID-19 disease less than 3 months ago.

Inform the vaccination centre as soon as possible. Your vaccination will be postponed.

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. If something unforeseen should arise, contact the vaccination site to arrange a new appointment. 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

Combination of Comirnaty /Spikevax

2

28 days

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 (applies for people 12 years and older). 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. The interval between dose 2 and the booster dose must be at least 20 weeks.

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 a booster dose.
  • People 18 years and older who belong to the risk groups are recommended to have a booster dose.
  • All employees in the health and care service are recommended to have a booster dose.
  • Otherwise, healthy people aged 18-44 can have a booster dose.
  • The municipalities shall first prioritise booster doses to those who are 65 years or older and nursing home residents. Then the municipalities will set up the order so that those who have waited the longest are given priority first. This will also ensure that the elderly and risk groups are given priority as soon as possible.

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 dose 2. People with severely impaired immune systems (immunosuppressed) follow a separate vaccination course.

Read more:

How do mRNA vaccines work? 

Two of the approved coronavirus vaccines Comirnaty (BioNTech/Pfizer) and Spikevax (previously COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna) are known as mRNA vaccines. 

The vaccines contains the recipe (messenger RNA) 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 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. The coronavirus vaccines act to prevent disease. They cannot cure an ongoing illness.

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.

More information about mRNA vaccines:

Vaccination with different coronavirus vaccines

The coronavirus immunisation programme in Norway uses the two mRNA vaccines from BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna (see above). 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 a different coronavirus vaccine as dose 2 or as a booster vaccine than the one they began with. The vaccines are based on the same technology and are very similar in how they are built and work. In principle, you are therefore recommended to accept the vaccine you are offered, but it is also possible to choose which type of vaccine you want to take.

At least as good protection is expected if the vaccines are given in combination (i.e. different vaccines at doses 1, 2 and / or 3), as when all doses are given with the same vaccine. Studies are underway on this. A similar combination of coronavirus vaccines is used in a number of countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom. Combinations of different vaccines are also used for other diseases.

Both vaccines have slightly more pronounced side effects after the second dose than after the first dose. The Spikevax vaccine (Moderna) can cause slightly more and stronger side effects than the Comirnaty vaccine (BioNTech / Pfizer). This applies to common but short-term side effects such as pain and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle / joint pain and fever. This usually passes within a few days.

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 coronavirus vaccines appear to cause more of the common side effects than other vaccines. The side effects 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 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). The NIPH recommends that both men and women under 30 years are only offered Comirnaty when they are vaccinated.

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.

If you experience unexpected, severe or prolonged symptoms that you think are due to the vaccine, 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.

Mer informasjon om koronavaksinene:

Stay at home or be tested for symptoms?

The vaccine can give side effects up to three days after vaccination, so how should you deal with potential symptoms after vaccination?

Symptom 

Measure 

Symptoms that are typical vaccination side effects:  

Fever, headache, fatigue, muscle or joint pain

Stay at home until you are fever-free and have a better general condition

If symptoms persist for more than 48 hours, consider a coronavirus test

Symptoms that are not typical vaccination side effects:

Cough, sore throat, runny nose, wheezing, lost taste / smell

Stay home and arrange a coronavirus test

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

  • The two mRNA vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna protect against disease caused by coronavirus. 

  • 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, stay at home and test themselves if they develop symptoms that resemble COVID-19.

  • The risk that vaccinated people get COVID-19 diseases is small, but can happen. Therefore, it is important to continue to follow the current infection control advice and to be tested if symptoms arise, even if vaccinated.

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.

Everyone under the age of 30 who wants a vaccine is offered the coronavirus vaccine from BioNTech / Pfizer (Comirnaty). 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 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 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, a long interval of more than 12 weeks after dose 1 is preferable, to reduce the risk of side effects.

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, a long interval of more than 12 weeks after the first dose is preferred. This is to reduce the risk of side effects.

Children under 5 years of age

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

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).

Note that follow-up studies show that the protection after having had infection is good for the first 6 months, and that the protective effect is better after longer intervals between the immune system's exposure to viruses and / or vaccines. Although the second vaccine dose will count as long as the absolute minimum interval is met, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends that the second vaccine dose is delayed until at least 3 months after recovery. You can also choose to wait up to 6 months before the vaccine is given. Vaccine can be given at any time after this and will provide protection in the same way as a second vaccine dose.

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.

This is reflected in the vaccination guidelines about vaccination after undergoing COVID-19: The Norwegian Institute of Public Health therefore considers that one vaccine dose is enough for those who have previously undergone COVID-19 (approved PCR test / other NAT, antigen test or antibody test *). This applies regardless of how long ago they had COVID-19. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends that this dose is given 3 months after recovery, as this provides the best protection.

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, although experience with vaccinating pregnant women is limited.
Vaccination is recommended for all pregnant women in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. Risk factors in the mother or high risk of infection may indicate vaccination in the 1st trimester. The risk groups for a severe COVID-19 disease course among pregnant women are the same as for the rest of the population.

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 can vaccinated people do?

Vaccination and having had COVID-19 provide good protection, but are no guarantee against being re-infected with COVID-19 and from infecting others. Read more about the advice and rules that apply to the different groups:

Vaccinated people must therefore continue to follow the infection control advice that applies at all times and stay at home and arrange to be tested if they get symptoms that may be consistent with COVID-19. Those who get COVID-19 despite being vaccinated or having undergone the disease will most often have a mild disease course or no symptoms.

We will probably have to live with the basic infection control advice about keeping more distance, staying home when we are sick, and being tested for symptoms, a little longer.  

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. 

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.

Vaccinated people are well protected against severe COVID-19 disease course, but they can become infected and spread the infection further. It is therefore important that vaccinated people should stay at home and arrange to be tested if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 disease.

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

The coronavirus vaccine Vaxzevria from AstraZeneca is a viral vector vaccine. It was used in Norway until 11 March 2021. It was removed from the Norwegian coronavirus immunisation programme because of rare but serious vaccine side effects in the form of low platelets, blood clots and bleeding.

Vaccination with Vaxzevria from AstraZeneca was suspended in Norway on 11 March 2021 following reports of rare, severe cases of low platelets, blood clots and haemorrhages after vaccination. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has concluded that there is an association between these cases and the AstraZeneca vaccine. Blood clots, low platelet counts and haemorrhages are now described as a very serious and rare side effect in the product information. The EMA considers that the vaccine still has a positive benefit-risk ratio, but that the authorities in each country must assess the benefit-risk against the situation in their country.

Following a review and evaluation of available data and the situation in Norway, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health published a recommendation on 15 April that the AstraZeneca vaccine should be removed from the national immunisation programme. The Government decided on 10 May that the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be used in Norway and will be removed from the coronavirus immunisation programme.  

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health provided information on further vaccination of those who received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Janssen-vaccine not used in coronavirus immunisation programme

The coronavirus vaccine from Janssen-Cilag is a so-called viral vector vaccine. It was conditionally approved by the medicines authorities on 11 March 2021, but has not been used in the coronavirus immunisation programme in Norway. Following a recommendation from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Government has decided that the Janssen vaccine will not be used in the coronavirus immunisation programme based on the current situation in Norway, due to the risk of rare but serious vaccine side effects in the form of low platelets, blood clots and bleeding.

The Government has decided that anyone who wishes to take the vaccine can be assessed by a doctor in order to get the Janssen vaccine. For most people, the risk of serious side effects from the Janssen vaccine will outweigh the benefits in the current situation. This also applies to most people who are travelling abroad. The Janssen vaccine is only available from a doctor after a thorough risk-benefit assessment.

This arrangement is not part of the coronavirus immunisation programme and is not recommended by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends that people should follow the coronavirus immunisation programme. All adults over the age of 16 will be offered an mRNA vaccine, see vaccination calendar.

More about the serious side effects after the Janssen vaccine

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has concluded that there is a probable link between the Janssen vaccine and serious cases of blood clots, low platelet counts and bleeding. These are now referred to as a very serious but rare side effect in the product information. The EMA still considers the vaccine to have a positive benefit-risk ratio, but the authorities of each country must assess the benefit-risk based on their infection situation. Based on the current situation in Norway, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health considers that the risk of the rare but serious side effects may outweigh the benefits for those groups who have not yet been vaccinated through the coronavirus immunisation programme.

History

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