Teachers Safe Working With Just One Vaccine Shot, Norwegian Health Minister Says
© Sputnik / Olga ButenopExams
© Sputnik / Olga Butenop/
At the same time, in neighbouring Denmark, the partially-vaccinated account for about one-fifth of recent COVID 19 infections. It has been concluded that the Delta variant, which now accounts for the majority of cases in swaths of Europe, is much more contagious, resulting in a poorer protection rate being provided by the vaccines.
Norwegian Health Minister Bent Høie has argued that teachers are sufficiently protected for the start of the school year.
The government currently plans to have schools operate at the “green” level, with teaching and everyday school life in a business-as-usual mode, reflecting that the situation is under control.
“We have arranged for teachers to be protected with the first dose before school starts. My impression is that many municipalities have implemented this, and thus they are more protected than they would have been otherwise,” the Conservative minister said, as quoted by the newspaper Verdens Gang.
Students should still avoid physical contact and practice good hand hygiene, and sick students shouldn’t attend school. Kindergartens and after-school clubs will also initially open up as usual next week.
In areas with higher infection pressure, school will start at the “yellow” level. Among other rules applied, school classes will not be allowed to mix with each other, and employees must keep a greater distance from the pupils.
When addressing a question during a conference with the media as to whether full protection is necessary before receiving some 30 children in a classroom, Høie answered with a resolute no.
“We believe being protected with the first dose is good enough,” he said.
Assistant director Gun Peggy Knudsen at the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) largely agreed with Høie’s analysis.
“This is a question that is difficult to answer concretely, but we must take into account that you get good protection from only a single vaccine dose,” she said.
She emphasised that the vast majority of Norwegian adults will be offered the first dose before school starts and that the municipalities have the right to prioritise employees in schools and kindergartens.
By mid-July, some 65 percent of employees in schools and kindergartens had received their first COVID-19 shot, which is lagging behind the overall vaccination rate of adults of 80 percent.
However, despite its vaccination progress, Norway has seen an upward infection trend in recent weeks, prompting the authorities to postpone the pledged full reopening once again. To date, Norway, a nation of 5.3 million, has seen close to 140,000 COVID-19 cases, with 800 fatalities.
At the same time, in neighbouring Denmark, the partially vaccinated constitute about one-fifth of recent COVID 19 cases. The State Serum Institute concluded that the Delta variant, which accounts for 91.2 percent of all new infections, is capable of infecting the fully and partially vaccinated much more easily than previous strains, resulting in a poorer protection rate.
Aarhus University Professor Jørgen Eskild Petersen cited a large British study that found that AstraZeneca and Pfizer only provide protection of 30 percent after a single shot, calling to revise the current “corona pass” system that grants certificates starting from the first shot.