Who should get the coronary vaccine first? It depends on the effect.

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Still no one knows what vaccine we can get against corona. First you have to know how they work.

Vaccine is the great hope in the fight against the virus. But not everyone can get it right away. Then some must be chosen before others. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB

Geir Bukholm leads the work with the vaccine against corona at the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH). It also means the priorities of who should get the vaccine first.

An ethics committee has also been set up. It shall present proposals for values ​​and ethical principles for prioritization.

This must be done in good time before the vaccines are available in Norway.

Working hard

Several large pharmaceutical companies are working hard to get a vaccine against corona ready. Norway will probably gain access to the vaccine through cooperation with the EU.

The vaccines must be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). It is again cooperating with the Norwegian Medicines Agency.

Not enough for everyone

Several vaccine trials are now in phase three. This means that they are tested on many thousands of people. If the vaccine is effective and without serious side effects, it will receive a conditional approval from the EMA. The vaccines will then also be approved in Norway. When this will happen is still uncertain.

The whole world wants vaccines. It will therefore not be enough for everyone to get it right away. In Norway, too, it will be necessary to prioritize the population.

The vaccine will be free in Norway.

Geir Bukholm is leading the work on the vaccine against corona at FHI. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB

Professor Geir Bukholm states that the vaccines will have different effects.

  • Some work so that vulnerable patients do not become so seriously ill that they risk a respirator or death.
  • Some will also have a significant effect by reducing infection.

– When we finally recommend who should get the vaccine first, it is on the basis of ethics and knowledge of the vaccine’s properties, says Bukholm.

John Arne Røttingen, CEO of the Research Council, has previously hoped that the vaccines will come after Christmas.

The effect of the vaccine determines who gets it first

Vaccines that primarily reduce the risk of people becoming very ill will be given priority to those in the risk groups. It can be the elderly, overweight or patients with other diseases.

They risk getting a serious course of the disease. They also risk other serious side effects.

Vaccines that reduce the infection in the population will have a major effect on the spread of the epidemic. Especially if it is offered to groups of the population who to a greater extent contribute to the spread of infection.

– But this is one of many assessments that are part of the work with prioritization. The task of making recommendations and assessments also includes assessing those who are particularly vulnerable to infection, and who have critical societal functions, says Bukholm.

This can be anything from health professionals to police and members of the government.

Transparency is crucial

– The goal of the vaccine is to reduce the risk of serious illness and risk of death, he says.

For the members of the ethics committee, the work is challenging and difficult. Bukholm emphasizes that openness about the recommendations is crucial, so that the population understands what is behind it.

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