Vísir reports that fewer coronavirus vaccines are arriving in Iceland than was previously expected. Þórólfur Guðnason, the Chief Epidemiologist, stated this in a civil defence information meeting today, where he discussed the arrangements for the distribution of the vaccine throughout the country.
The agreement between EU and Pfizer had outlined plans for 85,000 people to be provided with the vaccination. However, a delay in production which was caused by a raw material shortage has meant that less vaccines will be available than this. At Christmas, a shipment with enough vaccines for 5,000 people is due to arrive in the country. The next shipment, which will contain enough for 8,000 people, is not due to arrive until January or February.
The most vulnerable groups, as well as frontline health care workers, will be prioritised when it comes to who will receive the vaccination first. The delay in vaccines means that it will take longer for Iceland to achieve herd immunity. Þórólfur says that herd immunity should not be expected to be achieved until the second half of 2021. This means that some coronavirus restrictions will remain in effect well into next year.
Once the more vulnerable groups have been vaccinated (possibly by the middle of next year, by Þórólf Guðnason’s estimation) it will be possible to relax certain restrictions. Until that time, however, restrictions will remain in effect to help slow the spread of the virus.
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