Health Authorities Fall Short in Reaching Foreign Citizens on Vaccination Skip to content
Icelandic healthcare system
Photo: Golli. Mass vaccination against COVID-19 at Laugardalshöll in Reykjavík.

Health Authorities Fall Short in Reaching Foreign Citizens on Vaccination

Residents of Iceland with foreign citizenship appear much less likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 than Icelanders, data published by TV program Kveikur suggests. While just 6% of Icelandic citizens 16 and older have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, that figure is nearly 50% among residents of Iceland with foreign citizenship. Various factors could explain that high percentage, however.

Kamilla Sigríður Jósefsdóttir, deputy chief epidemiologist at the Directorate of Health, says it is clear that authorities’ messaging regarding vaccination has fallen short when it comes to reaching residents of foreign origin. “We are working to strengthen our messaging to various groups and find new ways to get information across,” she stated. “We will possibly look at making vaccination accessible at other times or other places so those who have difficulty leaving work in the middle of the day can get vaccinated.”

The data does not include any reasons as to why so many foreign citizens living in Iceland have not been vaccinated. It is, for example, possible that many foreign citizens with a registered address in Iceland are simply living elsewhere. A part of the group may have been abroad when they were invited to receive the jab or they may have even gotten vaccinated abroad. Some may have not had a phone number registered in the healthcare system, a requirement for receiving an invitation to get vaccinated.

A small number in the group may be unable to accept vaccination due to medical reasons, including severe allergies.

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