Norway discards COVID-19 vaccines as supplies exceed demand

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norwegian health authorities said Tuesday that the country has a surplus of COVID-19 vaccines and has already discarded more than 137,000 doses because there is declining demand in low-income countries.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said it plans a further disposal of doses if global demand does not change. In Norway there is high vaccine coverage while globally a demand for donations has fallen.

“For the first time during the pandemic, the supply now exceeds the demand for COVID-19 vaccine doses,” the agency said, adding that situation also applies to most European Union countries. Norway is not a member of the EU.

Norway has donated 7.4 million doses to more than 25 countries, chiefly via the UN-backed program known as COVAX but also via bilateral donations.

Earlier this month, health officials in neighboring Denmark said that 1.1 million excess COVID-19 vaccines would be discarded because their expiration date is near, and efforts to donate them to developing countries have failed.

According to the Norwegian agency, 93.1% of people older than 18 years of age have received a first dose of a vaccine while 90.7% have gotten a second shot.

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