Hoping to Receive Vaccine in January
According to Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason, things could move very fast once a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the Eruopean Medicines Agency, mbl.is reports.
If the Agency approves the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech December 29, the day it is expected to turn in the result of its evaluation, distribution of the vaccine in Iceland could begin shortly thereafter, Þórólfur stated in an interview on the news program Kastljós on RÚV TV last night.
“Things could then move very fast,” he explained. “If the result is not positive, we need to think things over again,” he added.
There is no guarantee regarding the timing, but the hope is the first vaccine shipment will arrive in January. Vaccine sufficient for 85,000 people is expected from Pfizer/BioNTech, but it’s not clear whether all of it would arrive at once.
Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason. Photo/The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management
The way the vaccination works is that after the first injection, people must wait three weeks before they receive the second one, Þórólfur explained. Full efficacy will be gained a week after the second injection.
According to information from the capital area health clinics, tens of thousands of people could be vaccinated a day.
Þórólfur hopes restrictions will be lifted by spring, provided all goes well regarding the vaccine. For herd immunity to be achieved, a minimum of 60-70 percent of the nation must be vaccinated, he stated.
Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir stated in Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, yesterday that Iceland has secured the purchase of the AstraZeneca vaccine for 115,000 people, mbl.is reports. She explained that health care workers would be the first to be immunized. “Herd immunity can hardly be achieved until the end of the first quarter of next year, and possibly later,” she stated.
A statement from the Ministry of Health reveals that an agreement between Iceland and Pfizer will be signed next week, Morgunblaðið reports. The European Medicines Agency will complete its evaluation of the AstraZeneca vaccine in January, and on January 12, it will discuss its evaluation of the vaccine from Moderna.