Norway scraps social distancing rules at home for fully vaccinated people

Social distancing rules in Norway for fully vaccinated people visiting homes and hosting visitors will be shelved, the government announced on Wednesday.

Norway scraps social distancing rules at home for fully vaccinated people
Norway's former capital, Bergen. Photo by ZHANG Shaoqi on Unsplash
The announcement about the easing of social distancing rules indoors was made by Norway’s health minister, Bent Høie, at a government press conference. 
As of Wednesday, 28th April, fully vaccinated people can:
• Have close social contact, defined as being within 1-meter proximity, with other vaccinated people, even those in risk groups. 
• Have close social contact with unvaccinated people who are not in risk groups. This means those who have both vaccines can hug and be in close contact with visiting friends and relatives, for example.
• Still maintain social distancing from those who are not yet vaccinated and belong to risk groups. 
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is advising people to maintain social distance until a week after receiving their second jab. 
“We are advising that you save your hug with your grandchildren until one week after the second dose,” director at the NIPH Line Vold said. 
The health minister, Høie, also clarified that social distancing will still have to be observed in public places.
“Since those vaccinated can still be infected and infect others, there will be no relaxation of the rules in public,” he said. 
“When you are out, you don’t know if there are those who are unvaccinated and in risk groups,” the health minister added.
Fully vaccinated people are also encouraged to stick to the national recommendation of only entertaining five guests at home. 
Furthermore, those who have received vaccines will still have to self-isolate if they have been in contact with somebody infected with Covid-19.
In addition to this, vaccinated people will not be exempt from entering quarantine hotels if they return from “unnecessary” trips abroad.  Those who go abroad for trips classed as “necessary” such as for family emergencies are exempt from hotel quarantine.
While 1.5 million people in Norway have received a first vaccine jab, only 310,000 people are fully vaccinated. 
Vaccine certificates were also on the agenda at the press conference. Certificates will begin to be issued next week. However, the certificates that will be distributed will not be the complete certificate; these will be launched alongside the EU’s coronavirus passports in June. 
Despite launching the certificates next week, the government still hasn’t outlined exactly how they will be used.
Denmark has already begun to issue its own “corona passes”. 

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Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

Sweden's Public Health Agency is recommending that those above the age of 80 should receive two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, as it shifts towards a longer-term strategy for the virus.

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

In a new recommendation, the agency said that those living in elderly care centres, and those above the age of 80 should from March 1st receive two vaccinations a year, with a six month gap between doses. 

“Elderly people develop a somewhat worse immune defence after vaccination and immunity wanes faster than among young and healthy people,” the agency said. “That means that elderly people have a greater need of booster doses than younger ones. The Swedish Public Health Agency considers, based on the current knowledge, that it will be important even going into the future to have booster doses for the elderly and people in risk groups.” 


People between the ages of 65 and 79 years old and young people with risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, poor kidney function or high blood pressure, are recommended to take one additional dose per year.

The new vaccination recommendation, which will start to apply from March 1st next year, is only for 2023, Johanna Rubin, the investigator in the agency’s vaccination programme unit, explained. 

She said too much was still unclear about how long protection from vaccination lasted to institute a permanent programme.

“This recommendation applies to 2023. There is not really an abundance of data on how long protection lasts after a booster dose, of course, but this is what we can say for now,” she told the TT newswire. 

It was likely, however, that elderly people would end up being given an annual dose to protect them from any new variants, as has long been the case with influenza.