From Iceland — Plans Being Made Around Possible Vaccine

Plans Being Made Around Possible Vaccine

Published November 20, 2020

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Although there is not yet any certainty surrounding the hope to starting vaccinating Icelanders in the first half of next year, plans are already being made around the possibility. According to Vísir, the Directorate of Health is planning to buy vaccines for at least 70% of the population. This information was stated on the Directorate of Health’s official website.

Meanwhile, chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has had some disagreements with the CEO of Icelandic Genetics Kári Stefánsson over who to prioritise when it comes to administering vaccines. Þórólfur proposed vaccinating healthcare professionals first, whilst Kári says that in his mind this was “not necessarily the right order.” This was also reported in Vísir.

Kári explained his viewpoint by saying that “when we looked at antibodies in Icelanders, we looked specifically at antibodies in the staff of Landspítali and the health care in the capital area and found that it was exactly the same percentage of health workers and Icelanders in general who had been infected. Which indicates that healthcare professionals are no more exposed to infection than others.”

“So I think in most cases, healthcare professionals should not be a priority group, but those with underlying diseases, those who are particularly vulnerable to such infections, those who have been shown to be particularly likely to be infected,” he added.

Þórólfur Guðnason praised the flattening of the curve thus far but also reminded people that despite the vaccine hopes, gathering over the Christmas period cannot be as normal and people need to think about potential for group infection when planning their family celebrations. He said that until the vaccine is here, we need to go very slowly and carefully.

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