Norway to provide free Covid-19 vaccine for citizens

CAPE TOWN- Norway will provide a vaccine against the coronavirus to all citizens free of charge once it becomes available, the government said on Tuesday, and municipalities and hospitals will be reimbursed for the costs of carrying out vaccinations

The Norwegian government has proposed to set aside a total of NOK 3.77 billion (R6.72bn) for the purchase of vaccines against Covid-19.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a statement that they want as many people as possible to be offered a safe and effective vaccine. 

“Therefore, vaccination will be free. The government’s main priority in vaccination work is to be able to offer early vaccination of the entire adult population in order to reduce serious illness and death, and prevent the spread of infection,” she said. 

The vaccination against Covid-19 will be organised as part of the national vaccination program, meaning Norwegian municipalities have a duty to provide a vaccination offer to people who live or stay in the municipality. 

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Minister of Health and Care Services, Bent Høie, said: “The National Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health will ensure that vaccines and vaccination equipment are distributed to municipalities and health trusts. It is important that the municipalities and hospitals are reimbursed for the costs of carrying out vaccinations, in order to ensure rapid vaccination”. 

While no Covid-19 vaccine has been approved yet, Norway can gain access to a limited number of vaccines and start vaccination in early 2021.

The European Union (EU) has entered into agreements with three different vaccine manufacturers, and is negotiating agreements with several other manufacturers. Norway, which is part of the European single market but is not a member of the EU is covered by these agreements through resale agreements with Sweden.

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