Moderna vaccine arrives in Iceland

12.01.2021 - 09:27
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 Mynd: RÚV - Jón Þór Víglundsson - RÚV
[UPDATED] 1,200 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna arrived in Iceland on an Icelandair Cargo plane from Liège in Belgium just before 08.00 this morning. It becomes the second vaccine to make it to the country. A third, from AstraZeneca, is expected to be approved for use later this month.

Júlía Rós Atladóttir, CEO of Distica, says the shipment is being taken to her company’s headquarters, where staff will examine quality control certificates and make sure the doses remained at the correct temperature throughout their journey. 

"We read the temperature graph to ensure the measurements from the thermometers that accompany the product all the way,” Júlía explains, saying that this means the temperature is known for the entirety of the journey to Iceland. The vaccine needs to stay at –15 to –25°C for long-term storage and Júlía says the transport temperature data must be sent back to Moderna, which will then give the green light for distribution. 

“We expect that confirmation could take slightly longer than it did with the Pfizer vaccine. We nevertheless anticipate being able to transport the vaccine to those who administer it right away tomorrow,” she adds. 

Ragnheiður Ósk Erlendsdóttir, head of nursing at Heilsugæslan (the capital region healthcare centres), says immunisations are planned to start tomorrow. Heilsugæslan will receive 500 doses to vaccinate frontline ambulance, police, and quarantine centre staff. 

AstraZeneca has this morning applied to the European Medicines Agency for a marketing licence for its COVID-19 vaccine. Approval is expected on 29th January.

Update:

  • Heilsugæslan will receive 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine and Landspítali 700.
  • The just-under 10,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were given to just under 5,000 people two weeks ago, with the remainder held back for their second dose next week. 3,000 more are expected next week, and a further 2,000 the week after.
  • The 1,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine, on the other hand, will be given to 1,200 people, as the same number of doses are expected to be delivered every two weeks (and the second injection is four weeks after the first, rather than three).

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