Norway lends all 216,000 doses of AstraZeneca to Sweden and Iceland
Norway has loaned all 216,000 of its AstraZeneca COVID-19 jabs to neighboring Sweden and Iceland.
Norway’s health ministry said doses would only be loaned if the country continues to suspend use of the jab AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria).
On March 11, Norway followed Denmark in deciding to suspend the deployment of jabs by the Anglo-Swedish company after reports of extremely rare blood clots and continued to clear citizens with other jabs developed by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.
“Sweden and Iceland want to borrow Norwegian doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca which are in stock at the National Institute of Public Health,” the ministry said in a declaration.
“Norway will lend doses to Sweden and Iceland as long as the vaccine is on hiatus in this country.”
Sweden will receive 200,000 doses of Vaxzevria, while Iceland will receive 16,000 doses from the stockpile, the ministry added.
The loaned vaccines have a shelf life that expires in June and July.
“I am happy that the vaccines we have in stock will be useful even if the AstraZeneca vaccine is put on hold in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said.
“Sweden has a demanding infection situation and has provided significant support to Norway in working with access to vaccines.”
But Høie reiterated that Sweden and Iceland would return the doses if Norway’s own government regulator resumed use of the vaccine.
“If the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine is resumed, we will recover the doses we lend as soon as we request them,” said the minister.
“Sweden and Iceland will then return the doses of their first deliveries of AstraZeneca.”
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said the benefits of being immune to COVID-19 outweigh the very rare risk of developing blood clots possibly linked to the Anglo-Swedish vaccine.
Norway, a non-EU member, also said that in the future their vaccines could be given to other countries in the bloc “in collaboration” with Brussels.
Although the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has recommended removing the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Norwegian vaccination program, the government has decided to wait, saying it “believes that we do not have a strong enough basis to draw a conclusion. final”.
The country’s health ministry reiterated that experts will review the use of Vaxzevria and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – which use the same adenovirus technology – before May 10.
On Tuesday, Denmark announced that it would also loan 55,000 doses of AstraZeneca to the neighboring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.
The Danish government said it had “not yet decided” what to do with other surplus vaccines, but was in dialogue with several countries.