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COVID-19

Norway says Covid-19 booster jab ‘not needed’ after two doses plus infection

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) does not currently recommend a booster jab against Covid-19 for people who have been infected with the coronavirus since receiving the second dose of their original vaccination.

An illustration photo showing a Covid-19 vaccine being drawn. Norwegian health authorities say a booster jab is not currently needed in cases where Covid-19 infection occurred following the original second dose.
An illustration photo showing a Covid-19 vaccine being drawn. Norwegian health authorities say a booster jab is not currently needed in cases where Covid-19 infection occurred following the original second dose.Photo: Oli SCARFF / AFP

The health authority’s senior medical consultant Professor Preben Aavitsland told national broadcaster NRK via an email that it was “not necessary” for people who had been double-vaccinated but subsequently infected with Covid-19 to receive a booster at the current time.

That advice applies regardless of the variant responsible for the infection, according to the NRK report.

“The purpose of the third dose is to refresh immunity against the coronavirus. If you get infected before the third dose, the virus itself acts as a refresher for immunity. In such cases, this (third dose) is not needed. That applies regardless of variants,” Aavitsland said.

The NIPH official was not alone in stating a booster is not currently needed for those in the position of having been infected with Covid-19 after the first two doses.

“If you are healthy and under 65, then: no. You don’t need it,” senior researcher Gunnveig Grødeland of the University of Oslo said to NRK.

A single vaccine dose followed by infection would be “equivalent to two (vaccine) doses. It would all depend on the time (of infection),” she added.

NIPH recommends a second vaccine dose regardless of whether an infection has taken place between the first and second doses.

In cases where someone has been infected after the first dose, dose two is given three months after the infection.

Both three doses and two doses followed by an infection create an immune response that gives “very good protection against serious illness (with Covid-19),” she added.

Norway recommends a booster Covid-19 vaccine for people over the age of 45 at 20 weeks or four and a half months after the second dose of the original course. The country aims to invite all eligible people for a booster vaccine by mid January.

Latest NIPH data show that 1.2 million people in Norway have already received a booster.

READ ALSO: How does Norway’s Covid-19 booster campaign compare to other countries?

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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