Vaccination against COVID-19

The Chief Epidemiologist is responsible for the organisation and co-ordination of vaccination against COVID-19.

The object of the vaccination is to protect individuals from contracting the disease and to achieve herd immunity, which will prevent the spread of the pandemic. Approximately 60–70% of the population will need to be vaccinated to achieve heard immunity. The plan is to vaccinate approximately 75% of the nation who were born in 2006 or earlier.

Vaccination against COVID-19 in Iceland will be co-ordinated throughout the country, and persons will be called in for inoculation according to prioritisation schedules established by Regulation No. 1198/2020 (, on the amendment of the regulation on vaccinations in Iceland.

The Chief Epidemiologist may depart from the above priority list if necessary, such as due to the progression of the pandemic’s status from time to time or type of vaccine, although account must be taken of the priority list stated in the Regulation.

Those who have been confirmed as having had COVID-19 by PCR tests or antibody tests do not need vaccination.

Further information – Public information on the COVID-19 vaccine  

The Icelandic Medicines Agency – Information on COVID-19 vaccines


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions


How will the vaccinations be organised?

  • Individuals will be called in for vaccination according to the priority list.
  • It will not be possible to book an appointment for a vaccination.
  • A computer system will manage all priority groups, appointments for vaccinations, information on vaccinations, registrations and for monitoring that persons have been fully vaccinated.
  • Vaccines will be distributed to delivery locations in Iceland, and healthcare centres will be responsible for the execution of vaccinations in their areas.
  • Persons who have priority will receive a message through Heilsuvera stating the location and time they are to come for their vaccination.
  • Vaccination locations for other groups will be announced when it becomes clear when they will be vaccinated.
  • As a rule, everyone needs to be vaccinated twice with the same vaccine, with a three-week interval, according to the guidelines of the manufacturer.
  • There is no need to vaccinate those who have verifiably been infected with COVID-19.
  • Undesirable side effects. The general public and healthcare workers may send in notifications of undesirable side effects to the website of the Medicines Agency:

Why are we vaccinating against COVID-19?
There are several reasons, including:

  • To reduce the number of deaths, serious illness and long-term COVID-19 effects on those who have been vaccinated.
  • To minimise the spread of infection in society by creating a general immunity in communities.
  • To ensure socially important operations.

What will be the effects of vaccinations against COVID-19?
It will be important what vaccine we receive, how effective it is, how many doses are to be taken and how many doses we receive, based on how much of the population we are able to vaccinate.

 Societal effects will also determine how quickly it is possible to vaccinate the priority groups in question and the extent of the support for the vaccination.

The information will be updated as more knowledge is gained on the types of vaccines that will be on offer.

Once the vaccines have been approved, we will know that they have the required effects, although we do not know for how long they will be effective. Acute side effects will also be known.

When will the vaccine for COVID-19 be delivered to Iceland?
Vaccines from several manufacturers will be used in Iceland.

At present, we expect the first doses of vaccine to be delivered by the end of December 2020. Vaccinations will begin immediately thereafter.

Vaccination will be carried out in accordance with vaccine deliveries to Iceland, although there may be challenges on the way that can delay or halt the development, production and delivery of some vaccine types. Vaccine doses will probably be limited to begin with, so it may take some time before we can offer all target groups vaccination.


How will side effects be monitored?
All vaccines have side effects, although most are mild and short term. When vaccines are developed, the goal is always to ensure that the vaccine is as effective as possible and that the side effects are as few as possible. Even if you thoroughly test any new vaccines, you will never be able to avoid side effects completely. Some side effects are only discovered when the vaccine has been used over a longer period.

Once the vaccines have been approved, we will know more about common and rare side effects among adults but probably less about the effects on children and the elderly and pregnant women. In addition, we will not know much about the long-term side effects of the vaccination.

After the vaccines have been used, the Medicines Agency and the Directorate of Health will monitor whether any unexpected side effects manifest. In addition, there is considerable international co-operation with the countries that use the same vaccines. The manufacturers of the vaccines, moreover, are obliged to carry out new systematic safety investigations.

The general public and healthcare workers may send in notifications of undesirable side effects to the website of the Medicines Agency:

Informed consent
It is quite normal that some may be unsure about accepting the vaccine before we know more about the vaccines that are in the development stage. We will provide information on what the effects are and what side effects the approved vaccines have so that everyone can make an informed decision. No informed consent will be required for the vaccination.

Will I be infected by COVID-19 by being vaccinated?
None of the vaccines contain live coronavirus, so you will not become infected with COVID-19 by being vaccinated. The most likely side effects will be flu-like symptoms. These are side effects that show that our immune system is working with the vaccine.

Children and pregnant women
The vaccines that have been developed the furthest have not been tested on children and teenagers. Children are less likely than others to become infected. Vaccinating children and teenagers under the age of 18 is not recommended.

No decision has been made as regards the vaccination of pregnant women. Women who are breast-feeding, however, may be vaccinated.

Is it possible that problems will arise if an insufficient proportion of the nation is not vaccinated against COVID-19?
Nine out of every ten Icelanders will definitely or probably accept the vaccination according to surveys such as the one Gallup published in September 2020 and January 2021. Only five percent said that they would not or probably not accept vaccination.

The most common reason given for not wanting or probably not wanting to accept the vaccination is that people wish to wait and see the long-term outcome of the vaccination and its possible side effects. A small percentage stated that they were generally against vaccinations, and some stated that they would not accept the vaccination because they had already been infected or that they had been measured with antibodies against the virus.

How long will it take to gain control of the pandemic after vaccinations begin?

It will take some time to vaccinate everyone who wishes to be vaccinated. Iceland’s agreements with vaccine manufacturers are estimated to be sufficient for over 280,000 persons. It will be necessary to maintain certain social restrictions for at least the first few months after vaccination.

The probability of public life returning to normal depends on the effects of the vaccine and its ability to prevent not only serious illness but also the spread of the coronavirus.


Does the vaccine prevent infection?

This is unknown at present and further information is awaited. As yet, there is no information available on how long the protection of the vaccine will last.


Can anyone be required to be vaccinated?
All vaccinations in Iceland are optional.


Will I have to pay for a COVID-19 vaccination?
No, the vaccination is free of charge.


How long will it take before our life returns to normal?
Even though we will soon be receiving vaccine deliveries to Iceland, it will take a long time before all groups are vaccinated. As a result, we will have to continue to maintain the basic infection prevention measures that we have used over past months:

Fyrst birt 28.12.2020

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