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.
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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 percent of people older than 18 years of age have received a first dose of a vaccine while 90.7 percent have gotten a second shot.
Norway discards COVID-19 vaccines as supplies exceed demand