Oslo to increase interval between Covid-19 vaccine doses

From next week, people who receive their coronavirus vaccine in the Norwegian capital will wait 12 weeks until their second dose.

Oslo to increase interval between Covid-19 vaccine doses
A phial of the Pfizer vaccine, the most commonly used vaccine in Norway. (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP)

“From next week, we will have almost finished vaccinating people with underlying conditions, and we will extend the interval between vaccines from six to twelve weeks. This is in line with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s (NIPH) guidelines,” health councillor for Oslo, Robert Steen, told newspaper Dagbladet.  

The new rule will not have a retroactive effect. This means that those who have already have their first dose will receive the second jab roughly six weeks after the first.

“Moving the appointment of the second dose, after the first has already been administered, would require manual rebooking. This would be very resource-intensive. This could lead to a lot of delays for people still waiting for their first dose,” Steen said.

The city council is hoping the increase in the interval between jabs will allow them to vaccinate the city’s population much faster.

“I am glad that the NIPH changed the guidelines, and that we can give the first shot to many more people now in the coming weeks. It is no secret that I wish the new guidelines had come earlier. We would probably have been able to have administered more doses by now,” the health councillor said.

Oslo city council has also said that it wouldn’t enter the next phase of step two of its five-step plan for reopening and lifting coronavirus measures until at least the 27th of May.

READ MORE: Oslo relaxes Covid restrictions with shops and malls to reopen

The next part of its phased approach to the second step of its reopening plan would see bar’s and restaurants reopen, with alcohol allowed to be served with food, as well as gyms and museums.

“I understand that the hospitality industry and owners and users of gyms are getting impatient. The first part of step two of the reopening plan seems to have gone well, but we must still be careful. If infections stay low, then it should be possible to open restaurants, gyms, museums and more before may is over,” the city’s mayor, Raymond Johansen, said.

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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.