Following advice from the National Institute of Public Health, the government is in favor of unequally distributing vaccines based on infection pressure.
– The vaccine strategy concerns us all. The distribution and use will help to protect life and health, and bring us back to everyday life, says Minister of Health Bent Høie during a press conference on the vaccine strategy on Tuesday afternoon.
The press conference will be held after the National Institute of Public Health published it earlier on Tuesday the recommendation for change in vaccine strategy which they have provided to the government.
They believe that a geographical skewed distribution based on high infection pressure over time will probably lead to a reduction in the number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths nationally.
FHI points to what they call a modest form of skewed distribution where areas with high infection pressure over time receive 20 percent more vaccines. Then several vaccine doses are distributed to the municipalities that exceed a set threshold value.
Høie says at the press conference that the government asks FHI to prepare a geographical skewed distribution, according to what is the best professional recommendation. He says that FHI and the Norwegian Directorate of Health have been commissioned to clarify the questions surrounding this.
He says that a possible change in strategy will only be relevant when we again increase the vaccination by dose one in mid-March. According to the plan, Norway will receive 650,000 vaccine doses during the month.
– We will not see the effect until a larger part of the population has been vaccinated, because the infection occurs in the youngest age groups who have not yet been vaccinated, says the Minister of Health.
These receive more – and fewer – doses
In the council FHI has submitted to the government, they have set a threshold value for more than 50 admissions per 100,000 inhabitants in weeks 34 to 4, because they will receive more vaccines.
This will increase the number of vaccine doses to: the Oslo districts of Stovner, Grorud, Bjerke, Alna, Old Oslo and Søndre Nordstrand and the municipalities of Lørenskog, Sarpsborg, Fredrikstad and Moss.
The extra doses are obtained from the approximately 330 municipalities with the fewest hospitalized, Høie said at the press conference.
FHI writes in its report that there are 330 municipalities / districts that in the last six months until 20 February had four or fewer admissions in the age group 45-74 years. These are called minus municipalities, and they are the ones that deliver doses. They can get a reduction of three percent of their doses.
The remaining municipalities and districts neither receive nor issue vaccines.
Oslo City Councilor Raymond Johansen says he is pleased with the recognition that vaccines should be distributed to a greater extent based on infection pressure.
However, he emphasizes that there are only just over 6,000 vaccines extra for Oslo, which he describes as a “moderate” increase in vaccine doses.
– I am glad that they now recognize that the infection pressure is important for allocation, even though this is very modest. It is part of a sub-process and the National Institute of Folhelse will return to more later, says Johansen to VG.
– The Minister of Health could go for other models that had given Oslo even more vaccines. What FHI says is that if you were to have a more correct distribution with a view to reducing infection pressure and opening up faster, you should go for another alternative. I see that this has not been done, says Johansen.
But he adds that he understands that it is certainly politically difficult.
– But the mayor of Bjørnafjord and the others should be happy about this, so I wish we had even more. Many people live here, and many have vulnerable jobs, the city council leader points out.
– One is in favor of a skewed distribution model in the country now, can Oslo then consider such a type of model within Oslo and prioritize districts where the pressure is higher?
– Yes, the National Institute of Public Health has proposed this based on prioritization of where the infection pressure is greatest, and I choose to use it in that way because what has been before has been a skewed distribution. What is now is a greater degree of prioritization but still a skewed distribution if any the infection pressure which is what you assume.
– Do you fear that there will be a city and country conflict?
– No, it is the government that proposes this, and we work to avoid a city and country conflict. The support around the whole country is that the infection pressure should be decisive, that you should actually cool down with the most water where it burns. It has great support and it has also shown measurements. So I do not think it is appropriate to touch on this. And everyone is interested in us getting the infection down as quickly as possible.
Mens The Oslo City Council leader breathes a sigh of relief, are rapporteurs in Møre og Romsdal critical of the new vaccine proposal.