Bergen Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting in Health (BCEPS)
COVID-19 | Vaccine Allocation

UiB representation on Norwegian expert advisory committee

BCEPS Director Ole Frithjof Norheim is one of a group of six experts appointed to an expert committee that will provide advice on who should receive prioritised access to a corona vaccine in Norway.

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The role of a newly appointed expert committee that will support the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) in advising the government on vaccine allocation in Norway is described in an NRK article published online on 19 October:

Disse skal gi råd om hvem som får koronavaksinen først

[in Norwegian]

"These people will give advice on who should be the first to get a corona vaccine in Norway"

The full committee comprises the following experts in medical ethics and health economics:

  • Reidun Førde, University of Oslo (UiO)

  • Ole Frithjof Norheim, University of Bergen (UiB) - BCEPS

  • Søren Holm, University of Manchester and University of Oslo (UiO)

  • Gry Wester, King's College London

  • Berge Solberg, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

  • Eli Feiring, University of Oslo (UiO)

Once a corona vaccine is available in Norway, access to it will initially be limited. It will be necessary to prioritise between those in vulnerable risk groups, health professionals and other essential workers. Age, occupation and location can all be relevant factors.

The committee will establish objectives for the upcoming vaccination programme and evaluate different risk groups. Prioritisation will be based on existing criteria in the Norwegian health system, but will also be affected by other factors:

For example:

  • In the case of Covid-19, people's place of residence can also be taken into consideration, as there is a higher risk of infection in certain geographic areas than in others.

  • It is still uncertain which vaccines will be approved first for use in Europe. The characteristics of vaccines vary, and the documented side effects of particular vaccines will influence which risk groups are recommended for prioritised access.

  • Prioritisation will also be affected by whether the vaccine aims to prevent infection or to reduce the degree of illness once a patient is infected (or both).

Concrete recommendations will only be possible once the trial results are publicy available, after which the committee will need a few weeks to work on their advisory report.

[NB: The English text above is based on the NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) article of 19 October.]

See also another Norwegian article in Dagens Medisin (20.10.2020):
Skal gi råd ti FHI om hvem som bør få konronavaksinen først