Norway’s neighbour Sweden is already planning to offer a third coronavirus vaccine dose to elderly and at-risk groups this winter and a third shot to large parts of its population starting next year.
So will Norway start offering a third coronavirus jab to its residents this autumn?
“As far as we know, there is no knowledge base for offering a third dose for the general population. The general picture is that immunity after two doses of mRNA vaccines remains stable,” Geir Bukholm, director of infection control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), told newspaper VG.
One of the reasons for this is because the NIPH doesn’t believe that there is enough data to suggest a clear benefit from administering a third Covid jab.
“We have not seen data that indicates that a general offer of a third dose to the elderly will provide better protection,” Bukholm explained.
The World Health Organization has previously asked western countries not to offer large booster vaccine programmes when risk groups in large parts of the world are still unprotected.
Another reason why Norway will not be offering a third dose is to do with the aims of its vaccine programme.
Burkholm said the Norwegian programme is focused solely on getting as large a proportion of the adult population fully vaccinated as possible rather than setting doses aside for booster shots.
“The Norwegian vaccine strategy is that it is important to get the adult population vaccinated with two doses as quickly as possible,” the infection control director told the paper.
However, he didn’t rule out a third shot totally, saying that the NIPH is assessing whether it should offer a third jab to the immunosuppressed.
“Some of the diagnostic groups may benefit from a third dose, in others, the immune response may be so weakened that even a booster would be effective. But as I said, this is being investigated,” Bukholm said.