A Fifth of Icelandic Population to be Vaccinated Before the End of 2021

Iceland intends to vaccinate a fifth of the nation against COVID-19 by the end of next year, RÚV reports.

Iceland has expressed interest in joining the WHO’s COVAX Facility, a World Health Organization (WHO)-backed initiative intended to ensure that countries around the world have fast and fair access to COVID-19 vaccines. In a press conference on Thursday, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason noted that taking part in COVAX will “guarantee us vaccines when the time comes.” Of the 80 nations that have expressed interest in participating in the project in various ways, he continued, “Nine vaccine manufacturers have been selected to collaborate on this project, which seems likely to yield positive results; six of them already have vaccines in clinical trials.”

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Vaccinating a fifth of the Icelandic population is expected to cost ISK 700 million [€4.44 million; $5.15 million]. “It’s been determined that each person will need two doses in order to be fully inoculated. We anticipate that each dose of the vaccine will cost around ISK 5,000 [€32; $37],” explained Þórólfur.

Asked how authorities would be deciding who would be vaccinated, Þórólfur said it wasn’t yet time to work out such details, but that it was likely that a similar approach would be taken as was during the N1H1 pandemic of 2009, namely that at-risk individuals and healthcare workers would be given priority.

“There are always grumblings and discrepancies about who people think should get priority—it’s just one of the epidemiologist’s headaches,” Þórólfur concluded.