RÚV reported yesterday that 2949 senior citizens will be offered the chance to be vaccinated against coronavirus. Vaccinations began earlier this week, after the first shipment of vaccination doses arrived in the country on Monday.
All residents living in nursing and care homes, as well as those on hospital geriatric wards, are to be offered the vaccine. However, elderly people living in serviced accommodation will not be included in this initial group, and will have to wait to be vaccinated.
Þorleifur Hauksson, who lives at Seljahlíð nursing home in Reykjavík, was the first person to be vaccinated in Iceland who is not a health care professional. He received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccination at 10am yesterday. All twenty residents who live in Seljahlíð nursing home were also vaccinated yesterday. Þorleifur stated that getting the vaccine was comparable to getting a flu shot. When asked about those who oppose the vaccine, he said, “I think it’s a hell of a lot of nonsense”.
Margrét Árdís Ósvaldsdóttir, director of the nursing home Seljahlíð, spoke about how life might change for the residents once they have completed the full course of the vaccine. “It may change the freedom of movement of these 20 to be able to leave town more.” she said. Margrét also noted that care will need to be taken, considering that not all of the staff have yet been vaccinated, and neither have the fifty residents who live in apartments serviced by Seljahlíð nursing home.
All that said, it is expected to take a considerable amount of time to vaccinate everyone in Iceland, mostly due to how the vaccines are being prioritised. The two most prioritised groups—healthcare workers and the elderly—comprise some 93,000 people, while the 250,000 Pfizer vaccines will cover 125,00 people.
That said, there are more vaccines from other companies on their way to Iceland. It is therefore estimated that vaccinations will be conducted in blocks over the course of the coming year.
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