From Iceland — Kári Stefánsson Will Not Set Up Epidemic Institute; Vaccines Coming Soon

Kári Stefánsson Will Not Set Up Epidemic Institute; Vaccines Coming Soon

Published September 3, 2020

Catherine Magnúsdóttir
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Kári Stefánsson, director of deCODE, intends to set up an Icelandic Epidemic Institute, providing funding, equipment and scientific work.

Viljan editor Björn Ingi Hrafnsson says in an interview with Kastljós that he also wrote about this in his upcoming book “Virus Prevention”, which delves into Icelanders’ struggle with the coronavirus epidemic. Björn Ingi also said that the book contains a lot of information that has not been published before, based on interviews, documents and protocols that he had access to.

Kári’s institute is said to be funded with the money it intends to charge the state for border screening, and then donate it to the Icelandic public.

According to Björn Ingi, Kári also said that he intends to send a letter to the Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir. “When that’s done and he has fully funded this epidemic institute, ensuring access to equipment and to leading scientists, he intends to give the Icelandic nation this institution.”

For his part, Kári later commented on this interview by saying it was “out of the question” that he would himself set up an Epidemic Institute, and does not intend to charge the Icelandic government for the border screenings. He clarified that he was not completely serious when he had this conversation with Björn Ingi, but does believe such an institute would be a good idea; rather, he believes the state should run it.

In further news concerning the handling of the epidemic, a working group, which was appointed by the Minister of Health on August 26th, is currently looking into the purchase of a vaccine against COVID-19.

Iceland is set to buy vaccines based on agreements between the European Union and pharmaceutical manufacturers with Sweden mediating in extraditing the substance to Iceland and Norway.

The current estimate, according to a report by RÚV, is that Iceland will need about 550,000 doses of vaccine. Each individual will have to be vaccinated twice and the goal is to vaccinate 75% of the population to achieve adequate herd immunity.

According to the Epidemiological Control Act, the Office of the Medical Director of Health is responsible for the implementation of vaccinations in Iceland.

Usually general vaccines, against seasonal influenza for example, are provided through tenders and contracts. The current Icelandic agreements on vaccines do not apply to vaccines against COVID-19 however, and therefore special measures had to be taken, differing from the traditional procedure for purchasing a vaccine.

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