Female Capital Area Residents Born in 1982 and Males Born in 1999 Invited for Randomised Vaccinations

Women born in 1982 and men born in 1999 in the capital area will be called in for randomised vaccinations today for the remaining 2500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Vaccination progress is going according to plan although vaccine shipment schedules for the coming weeks are uncertain.

Men born in 1999 and women born in 1982 living in the capital area were called in for last-minute vaccination appointments today in Laugardalshöll stadium, marking the beginning of randomised vaccinations for the general public not belonging to any priority groups. The randomisation process was performed simply by pulling notes from a pot in the country’s first vaccination appointment lottery today.

Around 2500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were remaining once everyone called in for their second Pfizer shot had gotten one, Vísir reports. The pool included birth years from 1976 to 2005 on pink and blue notes indicating gender, meaning there were 60 demographic groups to choose from. Director of Nursing with the capital area health clinics Ragnheiður Ósk Erlendsdóttir pulled two notes from the pot and shortly after that, text messages inviting people to be vaccinated were sent out.

Vaccinations are progressing roughly according to schedule although shipment schedules for the next few weeks are not yet clear. This week will see more than 20,000 people receive their first or second shot with the number of Icelanders having received at least one shot of the vaccine to go over 200,000.

Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason told RÚV that by mid-June, relaxed border restrictions could be expected but kept mum on when to expect domestic restrictions to relax further. The current restrictions are in place until June 16 and at the moment, Þórólfur sees no reason to change that. He is optimistic that by the end of the month, all domestic social restrictions can be lifted as vaccinations progress, as per the government’s plan, barring ay unforeseen complications. “It’s been going well and I can’t think of any threats right now but of course something could always happen.”

Weekend Rain Extinguished Wildfire Threat

The National Police Commissioner, in cooperation with police commissioners in West Iceland, the Westfjords, Northwest Iceland and Northeast Iceland, has decided to lift their state of alert for wildfire in the area.

The regions have seen a considerable amount of precipitation in the past few days, enough to lift both the medium and low levels of alerts. The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Response still encourages the public to be careful with open fire in green areas.

In a social media update, the Department noted that this time, they were happy about the rain.

A state of low alert due to wildfire was first declared May 6, following forest fires in Heiðmörk forest on the outskirts of Reykjavík, where over 60 hectares of land burned. Since then, most regions in Iceland save for the east and south-east coast and the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago were on low or medium alert and several brush fires have started, within the city limits as well in the south, north and west of Iceland.

After the forest fire in Heiðmörk on May 4, grass, dandelions, and lupines are already started to poke up their heads. Forestry experts will follow the area’s recuperation closely as it’s an interesting chance to assess the effect of forest fires on such a young forest. about 61 hectares of land burned in the fire, including 46 hectares of cultivated forest and 5.5 hectares of native birch. Despite plants and leaves starting to get green, the extent of the damage to the trees won’t be visible until next summer.

Despite lifting the wildfire alert, Iceland is still on medium alert due to the global pandemic and the Reykjanes peninsula eruption, as well as on low alert due to the threat of further landslides in Seyðisfjörður.

Police Call For Increased Funding Due To Shorter Work Week

Police officers are concerned about staff shortage within the police force, and a dangerously low ratio of educated police officers, according to the National Police Union. A shortened workweek for shift workers which took effect May 1 has negatively affected the situation.

In a statement published on the National Police Union’s website, the Union’s board declares their concern over the police situation, claiming working police officers are too few and the ratio of police officers who have completed their police studies education is dangerously low.

The board believes the authorities aren’t doing enough to react to the shorter work week’s effect on police work, stating: “Despite promises and contracts in place, authorities have not granted funding to hire additional staff.”  This leads to fewer police officers on duty at any given moment which greatly affects police officers and the public’s safety.

“When a shorter workweek was negotiated for shift workers, it must have been clear to authorities that more police officers would have to be hired and funding for police education would have to be increased,” the declaration further stated. “Police officers demand that authorities uphold contracts and grant the funding needed to sufficiently staff the police.”

Icelandic workplaces have been implementing a shorter workweek in stages and on May 1, a full work week for shift workers went from 40 hours to 36.