AstraZeneca vaccine not for over-65s
These decisions have been taken to maximise the efficacy of the vaccine, Þórólfur says. A growing number of countries have decided not to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 65 following research that suggests it is likely less effective for that age group.
While the very elderly have been prioritised for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already in use in Iceland, the AstraZeneca one will be focused first on nursing home staff and people under 65 with underlying medical issues. Þórólfur says people will not be allowed to choose which company’s vaccine they receive, though vaccination itself is not mandatory. It has not yet been decided whether the AstraZeneca vaccines from each shipment will all be used at the same time, or whether half will be stored for the second dose three months later.
Þórólfur said this morning that although the rate of infection in Iceland is currently very low, the virus has not gone away, and caution is still necessary until the vaccination programme achieves its goal. He says 60 cases of the British variant of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Iceland—all either at the border or in people close to those border cases—and that the variant has not been found in wider society. The South African and Brazilian variants of the virus have not been detected yet.
Þórólfur will present his recommendations for the next set of anti-contagion rules to the health minister just before or after the weekend, he confirmed.