Many people in Iceland are sick with respiratory illnesses and the situation is expected to continue. The peak of infections has not been reached, according to Chief Epidemiologist Guðrún Aspelund, as fewer people than expected received vaccinations for Covid and influenza this fall. “It’s been Covid, influenza, RSV, and other respiratory infections and viruses,” she told Vísir.
New Covid variant spreads
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified JN.1, an Omicron variant, as a Covid “variant of interest” due to its rapid spread. “Covid is highly infectious and it’s causing illnesses and many people get very sick,” Guðrún said. The symptoms of JN.1 are similar to previous variants, Guðrún added, but there has been no uptick in hospital admissions as a result of this wave.
However, many people have been admitted for other illnesses. “We always have some people admitted with Covid,” Guðrún said. “There’s also been an uptick in admissions where people have influenza or RSV. Especially young children.”
Campaign to get people vaccinated
Guðrún urges people to get vaccinated for influenza and Covid. Health care providers still offer this service and it is strongly recommended for people over 60 years of age. “The participation has unfortunately not been very good this fall, but there was an increase last week when the health care centres campaigned to urge people to come,” Guðrún said.
She added that even though people may have become tired of the discussion about Covid vaccinations, it remains important to get shots. “These are well-researched vaccines that billions of people have used,” Guðrún said. “They’ve been shown to be effective and protect against serious illnesses and deaths.”