COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Everyone over the age of 18 in Norway will be offered a booster shot of coronavirus vaccine, the country’s prime minister said Friday, adding that unvaccinated health care personnel should be tested twice a week and must wear face masks.
“Vaccination is the most important protection we have against coronavirus. The infection will be among us for several years to come, and there is a lot we can do together to prevent the virus from spreading,” Jonas Gahr Stoere said.
The move comes amid a surge in coronavirus infections across Europe in recent weeks. Across Western Europe, a region with relatively high vaccination rates and good health care systems but where lockdown measures are largely a thing of the past, infections are again going up.
Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol said the booster shot “could contribute to better protection against disease and to fewer people passing on the infection.”
An unvaccinated person who lives with someone who has tested positive with COVID-19 must be tested “every day with a self-test or every other day with a PCR test for seven days,” she added.
“This is not just a recommendation, but a duty,” Kjerkol said.
The Norwegian government also made it possible for local authorities to bring in a digital pass locally, if necessary to avoid lockdowns. Gunnar Wilhelmsen, mayor of the northern city of Tromsoe which has seen a spike in cases, said the pass would be introduced as soon as possible, Norwegian broadcaster NRK reported.
Tromsoe, an Arctic city of 77,000, has already recommended the use of face masks, social distancing and working from home.
Official Norwegian figures show that 91.5% of people over the age of 18 have received a first vaccine shot and 87.2 have had both doses.
Follow AP’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.