The Iceland Medicine Agency has granted the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine Cominarty a conditional marketing authorisation for Iceland. The vaccine protects individuals from COVID-19 and is intended for people 16 years of age or older. The marketing authorization is based on the European Commission’s conditional marketing authorization, which follows a positive scientific recommendation based on a thorough assessment of the safety, effectiveness and quality of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and is endorsed by the EU Member States.
In a press release, the Iceland Medicines Agency states: “This is an important milestone, as we will now be able to commence vaccinations in Iceland with said vaccine as soon as it arrives.”
Proofreading on Icelandic translations of patient information labels is ongoing and will be published as soon as they’re final.
Iceland’s vaccine acquisition efforts have been criticized in the media lately, following the Spiegel’s critical report on EU vaccine negotiations and Bloomberg’s report indicating that Iceland had secured less of the vaccine for its citizens than was needed.
Bloomberg’s Iceland correspondent Ragnhildur Sigurðardóttir has stated that misinformation on the number of vaccine doses secured by Iceland was due to a technical mistake. A map attached to the report showed the number of people that could be vaccinated considering the amount of vaccines countries have already secured in signed deals. By mistake, the numbers in Iceland’s deal with AstraZeneca weren’t updated on the map. Bloomberg updated Iceland’s number to 218,000 yesterday after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the report.
Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated in an interview today that he thought the media were overly occupied with the details of the vaccine distribution. He pointed out that weekly deliveries of the Pandemrix vaccine against the swine flu in 2009 kept changing with little notice. He said some nations were fighting over vaccines and that it was important that Iceland worked with the EU on acquiring the vaccine. He comes to the conclusion that pharmaceutical companies would never negotiate with such a small country on its own.
Following Morgunblaðið’s report today that Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir had taken matters into her own hands and was actively engaging in vaccine acquisition, Katrín has denied that she has taken over from Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir, V’isir reports. She states that vaccine acquisition is one of the government’s leading issues, Svandís is spearheading the project but that the government is working together to fulfil their vaccination goals. She spoke to the Pfizer Director to get a better image of the situation and gain oversight. She also stated that she spent yesterday on phone calls and meetings seeking to ensure enough vaccines for Icelanders. Katrín added that Iceland was not lagging behind in vaccine acquisition but that the timeline was still uncertain.