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Norway to participate in international cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines

Norway is strongly committed to the effort to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. It is now clear that Norway will take part in two international initiatives to secure access to a vaccine for Norwegians and for people in low- and middle-income countries.

‘Coronavirus disease will pose a threat to public health for a long time to come. While Norway has currently got the virus under control, the spread of infection among the population can easily escalate once again. Immunisation is the most effective way to curb a pandemic, but Norway is a small country with a small market. For this reason, we need to join forces with other countries. That will give us a stronger position in negotiating and purchasing vaccines for our own population and for other countries in need of them,’ said Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.    

Norway will be participating in two new international initiatives relating to the development of vaccines against COVID-19. Norway has been invited to join the Inclusive Vaccine Alliance. Established by France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, and supported by the European Commission, the Alliance will work to support the development and production of vaccines against COVID-19, and to secure a sufficient supply for European countries as well as for low-income countries. The Alliance will therefore fulfil an important role both in securing access to vaccines for the population of Norway, and in promoting the equitable distribution of vaccines globally. In addition to this, Norway will take part in the Global Covid-19 Vaccine Procurement Facility (Covax). This is a global funding mechanism designed to promote equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, independent of their level of development. Norway has invested close to NOK 4 billion under the aid budget to ensure that people in low- and middle-income countries will also have access to vaccines.

‘Norway is playing a key role in efforts to ensure equitable global access to vaccines. CEPI has signed an agreement with vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca on the production in Europe of 300 million doses to be made available under the Covax funding mechanism, assuming a successful COVID-19 vaccine is developed. The participation of heavyweight nations such as Germany and France will be essential to ensure that the Covax mechanism is effective and achieves its purpose. Low-income developing countries must have access to vaccines. This is why the collaboration between the Inclusive Vaccine Alliance and the Covax funding mechanism is so crucial,’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein. 

According to WHO; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and other leading stakeholders in the health sector, the most effective way to stop the pandemic is through global cooperation to develop vaccines, safeguard production and make immunisation of health personnel, vulnerable groups and high-outbreak areas the first priority. This will be the fastest way to provide optimal protection to the greatest number of people.