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Why Norway removed the AstraZeneca jab from its vaccine rollout

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Why Norway removed the AstraZeneca jab from its vaccine rollout

Norway has completely removed the AstraZeneca jab from its vaccine rollout, after deciding the benefits did not outweigh the risks of blood clots.

But Norwegian Institute of Public Health physician Dr Sara Watle said the decision was made after majority of the vulnerable population had already been vaccinated.

“We had control of the epidemic with low transmission, with relatively few cases of COVID-19,” she told Liam Bartlett.

“We had vaccinated large proportions of the population with the highest risk of severe COVID-19.

“Those who were left to be vaccinated were previously healthy individuals … and the risk of potential severe side effects from the vaccine was higher than the risk of hospitalisation and death from COVID-19.”

She said 95 per cent of the population over 65 had already received their first dose of a vaccine and 83 per cent had received their second jab.

“Not using the AstraZeneca vaccine at the time wouldn’t have really slowed the progression of the vaccine program, because we didn’t have many doses available and we had the mRNA vaccine.”

Currently the AstraZeneca jab is the only vaccine available to people over 50 in Australia, which has resulted in a high level of hesitancy to get the jab.

But Dr Watle said each country’s situation and risk factors are completely different.

“Vaccines are our only way out of the pandemic, and the AstraZeneca vaccine is highly effective against COVID-19 and will save many lives globally,” she said.

“So in many situations the benefits will therefore outweigh the risks of using the vaccine.”

Press PLAY to hear the full interview 

(Photo: Picture Alliance/ Getty Images)

Liam Bartlett
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