From Iceland — 10,000 Messages Sent Out For 2,500 Vaccine Doses

10,000 Messages Sent Out For 2,500 Vaccine Doses

Published June 2, 2021

Alina Maurer
Photo by

This week’s vaccinations are rolled out and the prime importance is finishing the priority group. A new system of redistributing the leftover vaccine doses has been tested out.

About 10,000 emergency messages have been sent out for 2,500 leftover doses. This has led to confusion.

Left-over vaccines are being redistributed

When vaccine doses are left-over from the priority group, random birth years and genders are drawn and those people are then invited via SMS for a last-minute vaccination appointment. The vaccination system only allows for two sexes, with the stated reason that there are the different side-effects of vaccines for different endocrine systems, i.e., some vaccines are more suitable for those with higher proportions of testosterone or estrogen in their bodies.

For this reason, there are special vaccination guidelines for trans people who are taking hormones, but these random selections do not as yet recognise non-binary people, despite the fact that they may also be taking hormones. UPDATE: Fréttablaðið reports that health authorities have now issued a clarification on this oversight, and have said that nonbinary people will also be included in random selections.

Yesterday, 2,500 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine were leftover and men born in 1999 and women born in 1982 were randomly invited for their vaccination. According to Vísir, after that men born in 1987 and women born in 1996 received the emergency message.

Confusion sparked when messages were sent out only a couple of minutes before the actual appointment or even after the appointment would have taken place. People were trying to rush to Laugardalshöll in order to receive their shot. Not all of them made it. Óskar Reykdalsson, director of the Health Care of the capital area, tells Fréttablaðið, that those mistakes in the system are being investigated further.

Not all of the invited received their shot

The rush is due to the vaccine only having a certain amount of time until it expires. Yesterday, healthcare professionals were racing against time to release all the vaccines that were on the last chance.

“We have six hours to work with and it was a bit close. About half an hour ago, we had about 200 doses left, so we sent out a lot of invitations for the rest, we did not want to miss this,” Ragnheiður Ósk Erlendsdóttir, director of nursing at the Capital Area Health Center, states yesterday. “These are women born in 1983, we invited, unfortunately, many of them have to go home [unvaccinated] but we managed to finish [the leftovers].” About 10,000 messages have been sent out for 2,500 doses.

Ragnheiður says that it is expected that not everyone who receives an emergency invitation gets vaccinated. Nevertheless, they can expect a new offer in the next few days. “These cohorts have become a priority for us and we will finish vaccinating them,” Ragnheiður says.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.

Also you can get regular news from Iceland—including the latest notifications on eruptions, as soon as they happen—by signing up to our newsletter.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!