Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated in a radio interview this morning that although the EU vaccine acquisition program was almost on schedule, except for AstraZeneca delays, it was still going slower than she would have liked. According to Katrín, the government was actively looking into possibilities such as acquiring doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V but that they would still require an EMA conditional marketing authorisation. RÚV reports that based on numbers from Norway, Iceland can expect around 3500 doses of the Jansen vaccine this April.
Norway will receive 52,000 doses of the Jansen vaccine over the last two weeks of April. Based on population numbers, this means that around 3500 doses of the Jansen vaccine will be shipped to Iceland, as both countries are party to the EU vaccine acquisition scheme. It is assumed that considerably more doses of the vaccine will arrive in May and June. Only one dose of the Jansen vaccine is needed to provide protection against the virus, as opposed to the two required by other vaccines already approved in Iceland. Icelandic authorities have signed contracts with the vaccine producer for 235,000 doses of the Jansen vaccine.
In other news of the EU vaccine acquisition program, the EU’s latest struggle with the UK over vaccine export made headlines in Iceland as new regulations meant that the limitations could affect vaccine export to Iceland. Both the Prime Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have now stated that the limitations will not affect Iceland and that this has been made clear to the European Commission. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir spoke on the phone to President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen and received a clear message that the regulations would not affect vaccine distribution to Iceland. Iceland’s government will still demand that the regulation will be changed to officially exempt Iceland, claiming that otherwise, the regulation is in violation of the EEA contract.
Iceland’s government has also been frequently asked about the success of the EU vaccine program. Prime Minister Katrín stated in a radio interview that she considered the vaccine rollout to be going slower than she would have liked and that her government was actively looking into every available option. She mentioned the unsuccessful Pfizer negotiations and the possibility of acquiring doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Katrín stated that an EU conditional marketing authorisation was still a prerequisite for administering the vaccine to Icelanders.
Healthcare authorities have decided to resume vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine and will be administering the vaccine to people over the age of 70. Tomorrow, all capital area residents born 1948 or earlier will be offered a vaccination appointment. 39,478 Icelanders have received at least one injection of a COVID-19 vaccine, just under 11% of the nation.