How does the Icelandic healthcare system work?

Icelandic healthcare system

Iceland has a publicly funded healthcare system, which means that everyone in the country, resident or not, is entitled to emergency healthcare. However, there are some considerations for foreign travellers – depending on your own insurance, you may be required to foot a part, or even all of, the bill.

Iceland is divided into seven healthcare districts, which offer basic medical services provided by nurses, general practitioners, specialist doctors, and other healthcare professionals. Immigrants to Iceland obtain public health insurance after six months of legal residency. Generally, Iceland uses a co-payment system, so healthcare is largely paid for by taxes (84%), with the patient responsible for the remaining cost (16%).

Healthcare fees in Iceland

The fee for a visit to a general practitioner during working hours is ISK 500 [$3.66, €3.36]. Some medical treatments, such as laboratory analysis or allergy tests, do cost extra, but the total cost cannot exceed ISK 34,950 [$256, €234] for adults each month. Children, elderly and disabled people have a lower maximum monthly fee. If you frequently need medical assistance and have exceeded the maximum, the monthly fee goes down to ISK 5,825 [$42, €39]. Dentistry and psychological services such as therapy are not included in public healthcare coverage for adults in Iceland.

Holders (EU and EEA nationals) of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) who are staying temporarily in Iceland are entitled to the same fees as locals for healthcare in Iceland. Make sure to bring your EHIC card and your passport in case you seek treatment. 

Amendment Aims to Increase Reporting on Domestic Abuse

Nurses Hospital Landsspítalinn við Hringbraut

Health Minister Willum Þórs Þórsson’s bill to amend the Healthcare Practitioners Act has been approved by Parliament. The amendment clarifies the authority of healthcare professionals to report cases of domestic violence to the police.

Clarifies the authority of healthcare professionals

As noted in a press release on the government’s website yesterday, a bill proposed by Health Minister Willum Þór Þórsson to amend the Healthcare Practitioners Act has successfully gained approval from Parliament. This amendment is aimed at providing clarity regarding the authority of healthcare professionals to report cases of domestic violence to the police. The consultation process with the victim, who seeks medical assistance at a healthcare facility, is emphasised in the amendment. It clearly outlines the information that may be shared with the police, enabling them to take appropriate measures to ensure the victim’s safety and provide the necessary support.

As highlighted in the press release, healthcare facilities serve as crucial points of contact for victims of domestic violence, with healthcare professionals often being the first and sometimes only individuals to become aware of such incidents. Conversely, the majority of cases reported to the police stem from calls made from homes, while only approximately 2% of domestic violence reports originate from healthcare institutions, as stated in the amendment’s notes. Findings from a doctoral study conducted in 2021 revealed that, on average, one woman seeks assistance at the National University Hospital in Fossvogur every other day due to physical injuries resulting from domestic violence. Records from the hospital indicate, however, that out of the cases involving women admitted between 2005 and 2019 with physical injuries caused by domestic violence, the police were involved in only 12% of those incidents.

Increased flow of information

The Health Minister’s amendment aims to enhance the exchange of information between the healthcare system and the police, with the primary objective of safeguarding and supporting victims of domestic abuse while reducing the likelihood of recurring violence. Moreover, this amendment aligns with the recommendations put forth by the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention recently proposed that the Icelandic government establish a clear channel for healthcare practitioners to report instances of domestic violence to the police.

The press release highlighted the welfare committee’s stance on the need to strengthen collaboration between health institutions and the police in their joint efforts against domestic violence. This amendment plays a pivotal role in advancing that cause, emphasising the importance of “breaking down barriers to information sharing across different sectors.” By doing so, the authorities would be able to better ensure the safety of victims and enhance their trust in the available resources.

Standardised procedures for receiving victims of domestic violence

The press release concludes by highlighting the ongoing efforts to establish a standardised procedure within the healthcare system for receiving victims of domestic violence. These procedures are slated to be adopted in the coming fall and subsequently implemented across all health institutions in Iceland.

The primary objective is to ensure that victims receive appropriate healthcare, which entails not only the involvement of a doctor and nurse but also establishing stronger connections with social workers and trauma teams. Simultaneously, these procedures aim to ensure that all domestic violence cases are consistently registered and handled in a comparable manner, guaranteeing that victims receive equitable services regardless of their place of residence or financial status.

It is important to note that the implementation of these procedures is separate from the aforementioned amendment to the Act on Healthcare Practitioners. However, both endeavours share a common goal of enhancing the handling of domestic violence cases, supporting the work of healthcare professionals in such situations, and improving services provided to victims.

 

Cuts to After-Hours Medical Care in Capital Area

COVID-19

Læknavaktin clinic, responsible for providing after-hours medical care in the Reykjavík capital area, will shorten its opening time by 1.5 hours starting September 1, Fréttablaðið reports. Stefán Ari Guðmundsson, Læknavaktin’s CEO, says a shortage of staff is the reason the clinic will now close at 10:00 PM instead of 11:30 PM. He does not expect the change to impact quality of services.

The decision to shorten the opening hours was made in consultation with the Ministry of Health, the National Hospital, and capital area health clinics, according to Stefán, and the change is here to stay. He believes it will in fact shorten wait times at Læknavaktin.

“We will be able to staff it better because we are closing earlier, those are basically my expectations,” Stefán stated. He also believes the change will not greatly impact the National Hospital’s emergency ward, as home care services will continue to be available between 10:00 PM and 11:30 PM. People will be able to call the 1770 emergency line, where a nurse will determine whether home care services are necessary.

Tired staff

While Læknavaktin was previously open until 11:30 PM, new patients were registered until that time, meaning that staff would in fact finish their shifts as late at 1:00 AM by the time all patients were attended to. Stefán points out that much of Læknavaktin’s staff work at health clinics during the day, where they start their shifts as early as 8:00 AM.

A review of the patients that came to Læknavaktin between 10:00 PM And 11:30 PM showed that an average of 17-18 patients came to the clinic during that window, “many cases that maybe have no business at this kind of service,” Stefán stated. He believes Læknavaktin will continue to meet the demand for its services, despite shorter operating hours.

24-hour phone line partially transferred to health clinics

In addition to providing clinical services, Læknavaktin operates a 24-hour phone line [1770] where those seeking medical advice can speak to a nurse. Last June it was announced that Læknavaktin would lay off all nurses working the phone line and the service would be transferred to capital area health clinic receptionists. That decision has been partially reversed: starting tomorrow, capital area health clinics will answer the phone line on weekdays between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, but Læknavaktin nurses will answer calls outside those hours.

Up to Four-Year Wait for ADHD Diagnosis

The current wait time for an ADHD diagnosis could be up to four years, RÚV reports. This per a new report issued by Iceland’s ADHD Association. According Vilhjálmur Hjálmarsson, the association’s chairperson, there are currently well over 3,000 people on the waitlist, 800 of whom are children.

“It’s really simple,” said Vilhjálmur. “Nothing’s been done about adults. You’d probably need four times as much funding to get this enormous waitlist down to a year. If we look at the children, then we see what has been a growing problem—additional funding was provided just before the election, but by no means enough.”

The ADHD Association says that the waitlist for a diagnosis has never been as long as it is now and wait times have increased over the years. And with no additional funding earmarked for ADHD diagnoses on the horizon, it’s expected that long waitlists will continue to be a reality. At the current rate of diagnosis, even if no additional individuals were added to the waitlist, it would take four years for everyone already on it to be assessed for ADHD.

Long Waits for Gender Confirmation Surgery in Iceland

No gender confirmation surgeries have been performed in Iceland since 2020, Fréttablaðið reports. Trans people in the country who request surgery face a long wait. Bríet Blær Jóhannsdóttir, a 27-year-old trans woman who has been on the waitlist for 65 weeks, argues that gender confirmation surgery should be formally classified as urgent.

Bríet requested to be placed on the waiting list for gender confirmation surgery in November 2020. “I [was] told that no surgeries had been performed that year, 2020. But they were working on performing four surgeries in December, I get this information in November.” In January 2022, Bríet learned that no further gender confirmation surgeries had been performed in Iceland since December 2020, meaning her wait would be extended even further. The news was hard to bear.

“In my opinion, trans people are very vulnerable, this is a very vulnerable group in society, based on what we have had to endure throughout our lives and how difficult this process is,” Bríet says. “Then to get this slap in the face, that after a year of waiting there is still a two-year wait – the only thing that comes to mind is a gut punch.”

Waiting periods stretch process to three years

Bríet says that the whole gender transitioning process in Iceland is very long and full of obstacles in Iceland, and has been so since before the pandemic. “It starts with six months of doctor’s appointments to confirm that the individual is physically, mentally, and socially in a good enough place to start the process in the first place,” she stated. “That’s followed by a pointless six-month waiting period before you can start on hormones. Then a year after that you go on a waiting list for surgery, a wait that takes a year. So it takes three whole years, before COVID.”

“Can I live for two more years?”

Bríet says that gender confirmation surgery is not formally defined as urgent in Iceland, but says that classification is wrong. “From the point of view of mental health, it’s something that has to happen. I can only speak for myself when it comes to this, but when I got the news [about the additional two-year wait], I just thought: Can I live for two more years? It’s really difficult, to have to wait like this.”

Not receiving the surgery affects her relationships, what activities she participates in, and travel abroad, Bríet says, in addition to increasing the chances of experiencing harassment and assault. “There are so many things that are difficult for trans people to live with today. But surgery is something that is possible to act on, now. It’s not possible to change how people view trans people all at once, but it’s possible to help with [surgery].”

COVID-19 in Iceland: Domestic Restrictions to Continue Unchanged

Iceland’s current domestic restrictions, including a 20-person gathering limit, will be extended for an additional three weeks, Health Minister Willum Þór Þórsson announced following a cabinet meeting this morning. Authorities will monitor developments closely in the coming days, Willum stated, to determine whether further measures are necessary to contain the wave of infection. The country’s goal should be to bring daily infections down to 500 in order to protect the healthcare system, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has stated.

There are currently over 10,000 active COVID-19 infections in Iceland and over 10,000 others are in quarantine. The country has reported around 1,000 daily cases since late December, its largest wave since the start of the pandemic. Iceland’s domestic restrictions were tightened on December 23, 2021 due to rising infection rates, and include a general gathering limit of 20, two-metre social distancing, and mandatory mask use in shops, on public transport, and in services requiring contact. Restaurants, bars, and clubs must close by 10:00 PM, while swimming pools and gyms may not operate above 50% capacity. These restrictions, set to expire on January 12, have now been extended until early February.

Delta variant still straining hospital

Willum emphasised that the coming days were critical in the development of this wave of infection, particularly in ensuring the healthcare system does not get overwhelmed. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated that while evidence showed the Omicron variant caused less serious illness than previous variants, the sheer number of cases is nevertheless straining the healthcare system. Furthermore, the Delta variant continues to be widespread in Iceland, causing serious illness and hospitalisation at higher rates than Omicron.

1,000 daily cases until February

Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason and Head Physician of Iceland’s COVID-19 Ward Már Kristjánsson met with the Parliamentary Welfare Committee this morning, where they provided MPs with the latest data and projections on the developing wave of infection. Modelling shows that daily infections will remain around 1,000 until February, and around 90 COVID-19 patients will be in hospital by the end of the month, with 20 of them requiring intensive care. Þórólfur stated that daily infections would need to be brought down to 500 in order to protect the healthcare system. 

Þórólfur said that booster shots and COVID-19 infection would eventually increase COVID-19 immunity in Iceland, but it would take weeks or even months for the effects to make an impact, even if the situation remains unchanged.

Urgent Need for Healthcare Workers on Reserve Force

Emergency room

Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir has encouraged those with healthcare training to join the healthcare system’s reserve force. The healthcare system is experiencing strain due to the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations, and Svandís stated that the need is urgent.

“Due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 infections with increased strain on the healthcare system, more healthcare workers are urgently needed in the health service’s reserve force,” a government notice reads. “The assistance of healthcare professionals who are willing to come to work temporarily at short notice, whether full-time, part-time or for shift work, is requested, as circumstances allow.”

The reserve force was set up at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when it became clear that key healthcare institutions could face staffing problems due to staff illness or absences due to quarantine. The National University Hospital has now sent out a call for additional staff.

The reserve force accepts workers with diverse training, including nurses, doctors, and paramedics (and students in these disciplines) but also social workers, pharmacists, radiologists, and more. Workers with relevant healthcare training can register by filling out this form. Wages are based on collective agreements in the relevant institutions.

COVID-19 in Iceland: “We’re nearing the limits of our infrastructure”

Emergency room

A heavy mood characterised the COVID-19 briefing held by Icelandic authorities in Reykjavík today. Director of Civil Protection Víðir Reynisson stated the growing number of infections is pushing infrastructure close to its limit. According to Deputy Chief Epidemiologist Kamilla S. Jósefsdóttir, if the rate of infection continues to grow, contact tracing will become impossible, which will only further boost the spread of infection and increase the likelihood that the COVID-19 ward will have to turn away patients in need.

Iceland has two tasks on its hands: to plan how it will deal with the pandemic in the long term and to curb the current wave of infection, Director of the National University Hospital Páll Matthíasson stated at the briefing. All three panel members agreed on the need for continued solidarity, stating that a collapse of the healthcare system would have not only short-term but also long-term effects on Icelandic society.

The following is a lightly-edited transcription of Iceland Review’s live-tweeting of the briefing.

 

On the panel: Deputy Chief Epidemiologist Kamilla S. Jósefsdóttir and Director of Civil Protection Víðir Reynisson. Director of the National University Hospital Páll Matthíasson will also be present at the briefing to discuss the situation at the hospital in light of the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations.

Iceland is now labelled red in the weekly COVID-19 travel map issued by the ECDC today. This affects travel and quarantine regulations in many European countries for those arriving from Iceland.

Yesterday’s numbers have been updated on covid.is. Iceland reported 151 new domestic cases (68 in quarantine) and 3 at the border. Total active cases: 1,388. 18 are in hospital. Fully vaccinated: 68.85% of population. 55 of yesterday’s 151 domestic cases of COVID-19 were among unvaccinated people, the highest number since the current wave began in mid-July.

The briefing has begun. It may be noted that Víðir has pride flags on his podium: Reykjavík’s Pride festival began yesterday. Kamilla goes over the numbers. 154 new cases yesterday and 1,391 active cases, more than reported on covid.is.

She goes over the booster shot vaccinations that will be offered in the coming weeks to school workers and those who received the Janssen vaccine. Vaccinations for 12-15 years old are being prepared. Those who want to get vaccinated but have previously contracted COVID-19, it is important to wait for a significant period before receiving vaccination because it will not be considered valid. Those who were previously vaccinated and have since contracted COVID-19 will not receive a booster shot: the infection has a similar effect of a booster shot.

Páll takes over to discuss the situation at the hospital. 3 people are in the ICU, none on ventilators at the moment. A significant number of people are at risk of needing hospitalisation due to COVID-19 at the moment.

Páll: What does that mean for the hospital? It is a challenge to make space for COVID-19 patients and requires moving other patients. There are many reasons this is challenging for the hospital. We are usually at 95-105% capacity in emergency wards so it is difficult when additional strain is added. There are also dozens of people on waiting lists for these beds already, as has been the case in previous waves.

New beds have been opened at a facility on Slétturvegur which has helped created more room and flexibility. We have a staffing shortage and our staff is burnt out. We encouraged staff to take vacation before this wave began and many are still on vacation.

Previous experience and data tell us that this wave has not reached its peak yet, says Páll. There have been no optional surgeries due to summer vacations at the hospital and they may be delayed further if necessary. We have asked some staff to return from summer vacation if possible, as difficult as that is, since the absolutely deserve a vacation, Páll says.

All of these are big challenges but we know how we can tackle them. We have good collaborations with other healthcare institutions and must ensure that patients can be transferred or discharged as quickly as possible. We must also practice triage from the beginning and ensure no one is hospitalised unless they absolutely need to be.

But all of that is not enough. We need to consider, and society needs to consider how to curb this wave of infection in other ways. “This and other pandemics are here to stay,” Páll says. “We must strengthen the healthcare system so that it is not always on the brink of collapse.” We are all in the same boat in this society. It’s a pretty good boat despite everything, but we must work together to ensure success, Páll says.

The panel opens for questions. “Are you seeing large group infections or are the recent infections emerging in smaller groups?” Víðir says both are happening. There are very few people that don’t infect anyone else, infections tend to happen in groups or clusters.

“Did any patients admitted to hospital recently go straight to ICU? Are there any factors that patients that have required hospitalisation have in common?” Páll says that the reason for hospitalisation is always COVID-19, though there are underlying illnesses that can play a part.

“The Pfizer vaccine was approved for 12- to 15-year-olds months ago in Europe and it will take them weeks to develop immunity, isn’t it very late to be vaccinating them?” Kamilla says that at the same time it was approved, there were reports of side effects that authorities wanted to research better, particularly among younger demographics. Now we know that most of these side effects are mild and at the same time COVID-19 has returned in full force so it makes sense to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds now.

“What are the effects of the restrictions that were imposed just under two weeks ago?” Víðir says the wave is continuing its upward trajectory and we haven’t thus seen any effect from those restrictions. Kamilla says that we have rarely been at testing capacity for quite so long. Some samples are being pushed to the next day to be processed. That is a cause for concern.

“There are two residents of the nursing home Grund that have now been released from isolation and had very mild or no symptoms. Is it possible to draw any conclusions from this?” Kamilla says that is very positive but there is not enough data to make general conclusions.

“You’ve stated that vaccination hasn’t achieved herd immunity as well as hoped. Is there any other way to create herd immunity other than for more people to contract COVID-19?”

Kamilla says it will depend on vaccine manufacturers developing vaccines that are more effective against the Delta variant and other variants that may be of concern. Pfizer has begun tweaking their vaccine to be more effective against the Delta variant.

Asked about sending vaccines to other countries in need, Kamilla says we must consider that if we have tools in our hands to protect others then we must use them. However authorities will continue to prioritise the Icelandic nation and infrastructure in Iceland.

Regarding the borders, Víðir says it’s clear our first line of protection is ensuring the virus doesn’t cross the borders and we are considering all ways to protect the nation at the borders.

“How serious can the situation become at the hospital if this wave continues to grow?” Páll says it is important that staff are able to go on vacation to avoid burnout. But it is clear that more staff is needed right now. That is why the difficult decision was made to call some staff in from vacation. “We are concerned about how the wave will develop in the next days and weeks,” Páll says.

“We know that to curb the wave we need domestic restrictions, but the government has not imposed any yet. Are we just hoping for the best?” Kamilla: If infection rates keep increase, then it’s clear that the infrastructure we have will fail to provide the best care to those who need it. Contact tracing will become impossible. If that happens, then infection rates will continue to increase because people who should be in quarantine will not be placed in quarantine. Kamilla: If things continue to develop in that direction then it is possible that the hospital will reach capacity and will not be able to admit patients who need intensive care.

Páll: We really have two different projects here. We have to plan how we will react to this pandemic in the long term. But we must curb this current wave right now.

Víðir takes over and agrees with Kamilla and Páll. It is also important to consider the long-term effects of measures. However, if our infrastructure collapses that can have a massive long-term effect on our society as well. And we are considering all of this.

In conclusion, we are waiting for the work that has been done in the past weeks to be completed and to see the long-term plan that is forming come to light. Not taking action is not an option at this point, says Víðir. We must continue our fight, there’s no other option. The virus is the enemy. There’s nothing else we can do than stand together. That’s the only way forward. The briefing has ended.

COVID-19 in Iceland: Vaccination Update

Nearly 100% of Icelandic residents over 80 are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. By the end of today, 90% of staff at Iceland’s largest hospital will have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Iceland is still far from reaching herd immunity against COVID-19, however: just 5.6% of the population of 368,590 have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while an additional 6.7% have received one dose.

Janssen Vaccine Expected in April

Iceland began administering COVID-19 vaccines on December 29, 2020. Since then, 45,422 have received at least one dose of either the Moderna, Pfizer, or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, which Icelandic authorities acquired via collective contracts through the European Commission. The European Medicines Agency recently approved a fourth COVID-19 vaccine produced by Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and Iceland expects to receive 4,800 doses from the manufacturer in April. That will be enough to vaccinate 4,800 people, as the Janssen vaccine is administered in a single dose. Icelandic health authorities aim to vaccinate over 50% of the population by the end of July. Vaccine delivery is expected to speed up in the coming months as manufacturers ramp up production.

90% of Hospital Staff Have Begun Vaccination

The National University Hospital is not only Iceland’s largest hospital and location of its COVID-19 Ward, it is also the country’s largest workplace, with some 6,000 employees. Around 90% of the hospital’s staff have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or will receive their first dose today. The hospital paused vaccination of its staff when Icelandic authorities suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month. Iceland made the move alongside several other European countries while the European Medicines Agency investigated instances of blood clots among individuals who had received the vaccine. Further research showed the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks. Icelandic authorities decided last week to resume use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on those 70 and older, as new research had shown its safety and efficacy among the demographic. At a briefing last week, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated that the rare blood clot issues that may be linked to the vaccine were limited to younger people.

Some 340 Hospital Staff in Vaccine Limbo

The decision to limit the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to the older demographic leaves some hospital staff in limbo. RÚV reports that around 340 staff members of the National University Hospital who received one dose of AstraZeneca earlier this month are in the age group that’s now considered too young to receive the vaccine. Hildur Helgadóttir, project manager of the hospital’s epidemic committee, stated the hospital is waiting for a decision from the Chief Epidemiologist on how to proceed with the vaccination of those staff members. She noted, however, that a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine provides considerable protection against contracting the SARS-CoV-2 as well as developing serious illness.

Iceland to Prioritise Healthcare Workers, Elderly in COVID-19 Vaccination

Healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be prioritised access to a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available in Iceland. The Minister of Health has confirmed regulations defining ten priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination. Children born in 2006 or later will not be vaccinated unless they belong to risk groups.

The priority groups were defined in consideration of the World Health Organisation’s recommendations as well as perspectives that have emerged in neighbouring countries. Emphasis is placed on healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. The groups are prioritised in the following order:

  1. Healthcare workers and other employees that work in the emergency wards of the National University Hospital in Reykjavík and Akureyri Hospital in North Iceland.
  2. Healthcare workers and other employees of the National Hospital’s COVID-19 ward and inpatient ward as well as comparable wards at Akureyri Hospital; healthcare workers and other staff at health clinics as well as those who administer COVID-19 tests; and staff at nursing homes and retirement homes.
  3. Residents of nursing homes, retirement homes, and hospital geriatric wards.
  4. Licenced EMTs and paramedics that work in ambulance services; Coast Guard staff that work in the field; firefighters that work in the field; prison wardens; and police officers that work in the field.
  5. Other healthcare staff that have direct contact with patients “and require COVID-19 vaccination according to further decisions by the Chief Epidemiologist.”
  6. Individuals 60 years of age or older. Those who belong to this group and are also inpatients at healthcare institutions will be given priority.
  7. Individuals with underlying chronic illnesses that belong to particular high-risk groups for COVID-19 as further determined by the Chief Epidemiologist.
  8. Staff of preschools, primary schools, and junior colleges. Community and welfare service staff that have direct contact with users, including those that provide in-home services.
  9. Individuals that are vulnerable due to social or economic factors and are at particular risk.
  10. All others who wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19 according to further decisions by the Chief Epidemiologist.

The first five groups on this list number around 20,000 individuals, according to RÚV.

Several Vaccines and Access for Everyone

Vaccination will be free of charge. The Chief Epidemiologist is responsible for further prioritisation within each group and can also make exceptions to the regulations outlined above, but must provide reasoning to the Health Minister.

The Chief Epidemiologist is also responsible for determining which groups receive which vaccine. It is likely that locals in Iceland will be vaccinated using several different vaccines. The Icelandic government has made a deal with AstraZeneca to purchase the COVID-19 vaccine the company is developing, and will have access to other COVID-19 vaccines currently in development through the European Union. Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has stated that Icelandic authorities also have the option to negotiate with vaccine developer Pfizer. In a briefing in Reykjavík last Thursday, Þórólfur stated Iceland should have access to enough vaccines for everyone. He added that there was as of yet no definite information on when a vaccine would be available in Iceland.