Around 120,000 Icelandic residents will be invited to receive a COVID-19 booster shot before the end of the year, RÚV reports. Health authorities are preparing to begin administering up to 10,000 booster shots per day from next week, and expect to offer all of those who have been fully vaccinated a booster shot by March.
For residents of the Reykjavík capital area, booster shots will be administered in Laugardalshöll. “We are going to speed up considerably and starting on Monday, November 15,” stated Ragnheiður Ósk Erlendsdóttir, director of patient care for the capital area. “We are going to take four weeks and will be doing three days a week. That’s 12 days in total and we expect to invite 10,000 people per day.”
Most of those who will be invited to receive a booster shot before the end of the year are people over 60 and those with underlying illnesses, e.g. those who received their second dose of vaccine before mid-June this year. Other demographics will not receive an invitation before January. Deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines to Iceland have continued monthly and Ragnheiður says that reserves have accumulated. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will likely be used for most booster shots.
Booster shots increase immunity, research shows
Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has stated that data from abroad show that booster shots increase immunity against COVID-19 and that side effects from the shots are very rare. “Side effects after vaccination are much rarer than after COVID so if you’re going to choose between getting COVID or vaccination, it’s much more likely you will react badly to COVID infection than vaccination,” Þórólfur stated.
Around 11% still not vaccinated among eligible population
Icelandic health authorities held a COVID-19 briefing last week for the first time in nearly three months in response to rising COVID-19 case numbers. Þórólfur encouraged those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so, as local data shows vaccinated lowers rates of infection, hospitalisation, and serious illness. Around 76% of Iceland’s total population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Þórólfur stated that around 11% of those who had been invited for vaccination had yet to be vaccinated.