The Norwegian government announced, on Wednesday, that Norway will, under certain conditions, provide the Janssen vaccine against COVID to volunteers from mid-June, contrary to the advice of many health authorities who believe that the risks outweigh the benefits.
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The Nordic country, which has also abandoned the AstraZeneca vaccine implicated in cases of atypical thrombosis, has discontinued the use of American Johnson & Johnson serum, as well as the adenovirus and has also been implicated in similar side effects.
However, on May 12 the government announced that it was considering offering this vaccine – which features a single dose – to volunteers only, outside the official immunization programme.
On Wednesday, he outlined the strict conditions under which some Norwegians will be able to request to receive him, after a medical consultation, from June 15.
Only a few categories of the population (people who are invited to travel to countries where the epidemic is still very prevalent, those in a critical situation or one of their relatives suffering from serious cancer, etc.) will be eligible.
“The patient has the right to influence the decision, but he cannot demand the vaccine. Doctors will have the last word,” Health Minister Bint Hoy told a press conference.
Neighboring Denmark reserves the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for volunteers even though these two have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and are recommended by the World Health Organization. (WHO).
If the main recommendations issued in May by a panel of experts are followed, the Norwegian government takes the opposite view of specialized national bodies, including the Health Directorate, the Institute of Public Health or the College of Physicians.
They believe the epidemic is under control enough and that vaccination with the RNA vaccine (Pfizer and Modern) is advancing fast enough in the country that you don’t have to resort to vaccines that potentially cause rare but serious side effects.
“For the most part, the risks of side effects with the Janssen vaccine will be higher than its benefits in the current situation in Norway,” Director of Health, Bjorn Goldfog, said at the same press conference.
Norway has one of the lowest infection rates on the continent, according to data from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).
Approximately 1.85 million people received a first injection in the kingdom of 5.4 million people, and 1.21 million received a second injection.
Authorities say a first dose should be given to all adults by early August.