Information and statistics on vaccinations against COVID-19

Information

Mass vaccinations in the capital area are now finished for the time being. In the coming weeks, vaccinations will be given as needed at Suðurlandsbraut 34. Vaccination will take place every work-day punctually at 14:00. People can come there to receive the Janssen or Pfizer vaccine.

This does not apply to children ages 12 to 15 except in special circumstances. For instance if people are moving abroad or the children have risk factors with regard to serious illness due to COVID-19.  The Chief Epidemiologist does not recommend general vaccination against COVID-19 in healthy children ages 12 to 15 at this time.

If you live or work in Iceland you have the right to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Further information on the process of invitation.

Certificate of vaccination can be obtained from heilsuvera.is (you need an electronic ID) or from the primary health care center in your area. Certificates are available one week after a full vaccination is completed. Note: On the vaccination certificate it is noted that it is not a travel document (not a passport) but the certificate is valid as a vaccination certificate for travel between countries.

The distribution of the vaccine and organisation of vaccinations is managed by the Chief Epidemiologist, while its execution is managed by local healthcare centres and healthcare facilities around the country.

Vaccinations are and will be free of charge, and no one will be forced to accept the vaccination.

The vaccines for COVID-19 that will be used in Iceland are safe and provide the best possible protection against the disease. The object of the vaccination is to protect individuals from contracting COVID-19 and to achieve herd immunity, which will prevent the spread of the pandemic.

In Kastljós on 27th April 2021, Kamilla Sigríður Jósefsdóttir, a paediatric infectious disease doctor, discussed vaccinations against COVID-19 in Iceland and answered various questions regarding the implementation and safety of vaccines. You can watch the interview with Kamilla in Icelandic here.

Questions and answers regarding COVID-19 vaccination

Frequently asked questions in Icelandic on the organisation of vaccinations on the Healthcare Centre's website.
Frequently asked questions and answers in English about vaccination against COVID-19 on the website of the Directorate of Health.
Frequently asked questions and answers in Icelandic about vaccines and medicines for COVID-19 on the Icelandic Medicines Agency website.
Here you can read all about vaccinations in easy-to-read language. Text from Þroskahjálp (National Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities).

There are ten priority groups

Vaccinations in Iceland are going well. Here you can find statistical information concerning how many people are vaccinated within Iceland.

Notifications for vaccinations are sent via text message, but those who do not receive a notification to be vaccinated electronically will receive a notification by other means. It is important to have your telephone/mobile number registered in your medical records. This can be done on the website Heilsuvera.is. Everyone will receive a vaccine and no one will be excluded.

Those who have been confirmed as having had COVID-19 by PCR tests or antibody tests will generally not receive a vaccination notification for the time being, but this group is expected to be vaccinated once other groups have been fully protected. The Chief Epidemiologist decides, in consultation with the Minister of Health, which groups will have priority for the COVID-19 vaccination. Please note that healthcare centres cannot change the order of priority.

Pregnant women are not considered a special priority group when vaccinating for COVID-19, but there is no opposition to the vaccination of pregnant women who so request. This is particularly applicable to women who were at risk before the pregnancy, or perform work where priority vaccination is recommended, such as in healthcare services.

Group 1
Healthcare professionals and other staff working in emergency wards and intensive care units of Landspítali University Hospital and the intensive care unit in the hospital in Akureyri.
Group 2
Healthcare workers working in COVID-19 out-patient wards and wards for patients who have been infected with COVID-19.
Group 3
Persons living in nursing and retirement homes and old-age wards in hospitals.
Group 4
Ambulance staff, paramedics, the employees of the Icelandic Coast Guard, fire brigade employees, prison guards, call-out police officers.
Group 5
Healthcare professionals involved in the primary care of patients and who must necessarily be vaccinated.
Group 6
Persons aged 60 and older.
Groups 7
Persons with underlying long-term illnesses who are at particular risk.
Groups 8
Employees of nursery, primary and secondary schools and select groups of social and welfare service workers.
Groups 9
Persons who are in sensitive circumstances due to their social and economic situation.
Groups 10
All others who request vaccination.

How are the vaccinations organised?

Notification and registration

Individuals in vaccination groups will be notified of their vaccination appointment with a message stating where and when the person in question should attend. The notification is via text messages, messages on Heilsuvera or by other means It is important to have your telephone/mobile number registered in your medical records to ensure that you receive the message. It will not be possible to book an appointment for vaccination, and healthcare centres will not be able to change priorities.  

The Directorate of Health has developed a computer system to manage the organisation, implementation and supervision of vaccinations. The system will manage the progression of vaccinations and record information directly into the vaccination database of the Chief Epidemiologist. The speed of vaccinations will depend on the volume of the vaccine sent each time to Iceland.

Information on the location of vaccinations for other groups will be announced when it has become clear when they are to be vaccinated.  Here you can see a diagram of the approach to Laugardalshöll in Reykjavík.

If you are in quarantine, do not attend even if you get a notification. You will not forfeit your right to a vaccination if you do not attend the appointment. You will receive another appointment.

The vaccines for COVID-19 used in Iceland are safe and provide the best possible protection against the disease. The object of the vaccination is to protect individuals from contracting COVID-19 and to achieve herd immunity, which will prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Four different vaccines from four different manufacturers are being used in Iceland. The Directorate of Health website has further information on the efficacy of the vaccines. Þroskahjálp (National Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities) have prepared a pamphlet in easy-to-read language on the use of vaccines for COVID-19.

AstraZeneca

The AstraZeneca vaccine contains a cold virus that has been inactivated so that it cannot reproduce and genetic material added for the same protein as our bodies produce after the mRNA vaccination.

The vaccine is transported and stored under the same conditions as the vaccines we use in routine primary care. There are 10 doses in each vial and they must be used within a few hours of opening the vial. Therefore, the vaccine is ideal for rural areas.

Allergic reactions are not as common for this vaccine as for the mRNA vaccines. An unusual type of blood clot has been reported as a serious but rare side effect in many European countries, which is why its use has been discontinued for women under 55 and for people with a previous history or risk of blood clots.

AstraZeneca is registered for individuals aged 18 and over. To begin with, there was uncertainty about efficacy in those aged 65 and older due to the small number of participants in that age group in pre-marketing research, but the data available is now adequate following research in the UK. Studies on vaccinating children have begun. It is now given to women 55 and older who are not at risk for phlebothrombosis or blood clots, and to men of all ages who meet the same criteria.

It takes 12 weeks to finalise the vaccination. The period between injections can be shorter, but this provides the best protection.  

Janssen

The Janssen vaccine contains a cold virus that has been inactivated so that it cannot reproduce and genetic material added for the same protein as our bodies produce after the mRNA vaccination.

The vaccine is transported frozen but can be stored at the vaccination site under the same conditions as the vaccines used daily in primary care. There are five doses in each vial and they must be used within a few hours of opening the vial. Therefore, the vaccine is ideal for rural areas.

Allergic reactions are not as common for this vaccine as for the mRNA vaccines. Blood clots of the same type known with the AstraZeneca vaccine have occurred where millions of doses have been used but are extremely rare.

The vaccine has a marketing authorisation license as a one shot vaccine and is the only such vaccine used in Iceland. One dose of Janssen significantly reduces the risk of infection, serious illness and death from COVID-19 disease. Therefore, it can be well suited for individuals who are difficult to reach for re-vaccination due to residence, work or otherwise. It is being investigated whether a booster dose further strengthens the defense.

Janssen is used for individuals 18 years or older, but studies on vaccinating children have begun. The vaccine is given to those that might not be able to receive two doses in Iceland, such as individuals who work in Iceland but reside in a foreign country or work in a foreign country but reside in Iceland.

This vaccine is not recommended for immune compromised individuals or pregnant women.

Moderna

The Moderna vaccine is a so-called mRNA vaccine. It contains no virus, but rather genetic material in a lipid particle. The body reads the genetic material and produces proteins that the immune system learns to recognise.

The vaccine must be transported and stored in the dark and 11 doses can be extracted from each vial with the right equipment. The vaccine must be used immediately after mixing without delay. Therefore, it is best to use the vaccine in urban areas where large groups of people can be called in.

Allergic reactions are more common than with some other vaccines.

The vaccine is used for individuals 18 years or older but studies on vaccinating children have begun. The vaccine is used for groups that need to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Four to five weeks should elapse between doses and no more than five weeks.

Pfizer/BioNTech

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is a so-called mRNA vaccine. It contains no virus, but rather genetic material in a lipid particle. The body reads the genetic material and produces proteins that the immune system learns to recognise.

Must be transported in very cold conditions but can be stored in a refrigerator for a few days before use. Six doses can be extracted from each vial with the right equipment. The vaccine must be used immediately after mixing and therefore it is best to vaccinate a group of people simultaneously.

Allergic reactions are more common than with some other vaccines.

The vaccine is used for individuals 16 years or older but studies on vaccinating children over 12 years of age have been done and are now being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency. This is currently the only vaccination used in Iceland that's permitted for children 16-18 years of age. Three weeks should elapse between doses and no more than six weeks.

Side-effects after COVID-19 vaccination:

All immunizations can cause discomfort that are called adverse effects or more commonly side-effects. Most side-effects are a result of the activation of the immune system, which is the purpose of the immunization. These symptoms are usually the same for all vaccines:

  • Fever >38°, chills, body aches
  • Local symptoms at injection site
  • Tiredness, feeling unwell, headache, stomach/intestinal symptoms

These symptoms usually arise within 24 hours of the vaccination and rarely last longer than 24-48 hours except for local symptoms and lymph node swellings (see below). Symptoms often arise more quickly after a repeat dose of the same vaccine. Local symptoms can be simple ache but sometimes include itching, redness or swelling. These symptoms often last longer than 24 hours, even up to a week. It is not necessary to report these symptoms to the primary health care or the institution that performed the immunization, or to the Icelandic Medicines Authority (IMA), unless they are unusually severe. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used in the package recommended doses for those individuals who can tolerate those medicines, if necessary to reduce discomfort after vaccination.

Lymph nodes nearest to the injection site, usually under the injected arm, are a well known but rare side effect related to the activation of the immune system. If they are more widespread it is advisable to contact a health care provider, for example in primary care, who will assess whether an examination or treatment is necessary and report to the IMA.

Possible side-effects of COVID-19 vaccines apart from immune activation:

These side-effects should be reported to the IMA in all cases because of the additional monitoring in effect for these new products. Be aware that connection to the vaccination has not been confirmed for all such symptoms but if occurrences are well documented it may be possible to confirm or refute a causal relationship with the vaccination. When causal relationships are confirmed it may be possible to define those who are at risk of such side-effects and plan for appropriate response or make additional recommendations regarding vaccination of such individuals.

Comirnaty/Pfizer BioNTech vaccine: (see product information)

  • Anaphylaxis or other acute allergic symptoms
  • Facial nerve palsy (Bell palsy)
  • Other sudden, new onset symptoms that may be related to the vaccine

Moderna vaccine: (see product information)

  • Anaphylaxis or other acute allergic symptoms
  • Facial nerve palsy (Bell palsy)
  • Other sudden, new onset symptoms that may be related to the vaccine

Astra Zeneca vaccine: (product information is being updated)

  • Anaphylaxis or other acute allergic symptoms
  • Blood clots with low platelets (Thrombosis with Thrombocytopaenia Syndrome; TTS) – rare but believed truly related to vaccination although the mechanism is still unknown. New onset symptoms that should prompt an urgent medical assessment if arise within 14 days of vaccination include:
  • Difficulty breathing/dyspnoea
  • Sudden new and severe pain in the head, chest or abdomen
  • Pain and swelling of a limb other than the one injected with the vaccine, without preceding injury
  • Neurological symptoms such as blurry vision
  • Petechiae and purpurae/blood spots or bruises on the skin other than around the injection site
  • Other sudden, new onset symptoms that may be related to the vaccine

Janssen vaccine

  • Anaphylaxis or other acute allergic symptoms
  • Other sudden, new onset symptoms that may be related to the vaccine

Notification to the Icelandic Medicines Authority:

Anyone can notify the IMA of a suspected adverse effect of a medicine, including vaccines. Family members or staff in long-term care facilities can send notifications on behalf of vaccinated inhabitants of such facilities. It is most important to notify the IMA if suspected side-effects are new (not included in the product information above), previously described but of uncertain incidence (according to the product information) or serious (requiring treatment beyond the simple fever reducing pain medicines discussed above). Notifications can be made to health care providers who then report to the IMA, by email or directly on the IMA website.


Life after COVID-19 vaccination

Those who have been vaccinated for Covid-19 are not exempt from the infection prevention rules that are in effect in Iceland during the COVID pandemic (restrictions on the number of people, mask rule, measures in the workplace). Additional information on vaccinated individuals and infection prevention measures.

Vaccination reduces the risk of infection but does not rule it out. It is still uncertain whether a vaccinated individual that falls ill with COVID-19 can infect others.

Certificates of vaccination against COVID-19 can be obtained on My Pages at Heilsuvera.is or at healthcare facilities.

Those who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and have a certificate to that effect can travel between countries without having to go into a long quarantine when they arrive in Iceland. However, it varies what rules apply at the borders of other countries.

Vaccination does not completely eliminate the need for quarantine, if an individual is sent to quarantine due to associating with an infected individual.

Side effects

It is very important to notify the healthcare centre or the organisation that gave you the vaccination if severe or unusual side effects/complications occur after the vaccination. If there is any doubt about the association of symptoms with vaccination, it is appropriate to report them, since these are new drugs that are subject to special monitoring.

When vaccinating twice at short intervals with the same vaccine, there is an increased risk of mild side effects such as fever, weakness, fatigue, discomfort at the injection site, in the first 24 hours after the second dose. There is no need to report these common symptoms to the Icelandic Medicines Agency unless they last for an unusually long period (assessment by a healthcare worker) or are unusually severe, e.g. if the whole arm is swollen.

Second dose

The period between first and second dose varies between vaccines. Individuals who have, for some reason, missed their second dose will need to receive it as soon as possible. Those who have received their first dose abroad but have arrived in Iceland can, in most cases, receive the second dose in Iceland, provided that the vaccine is being used here. You can monitor the vaccination days on the Healthcare Centre's website. The same applies to individuals who are located in a different place in Iceland when it is time for their second dose, but they should monitor their healthcare facility.

What to expect after vaccination

If you are vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine
If you are vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine
If you are vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
If you are vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine

The vaccines for COVID-19 used in Iceland are safe and provide the best possible protection against the disease. The object of the vaccination is to protect individuals from contracting COVID-19 and to achieve herd immunity, which will prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Four different vaccines from four different manufacturers are being used in Iceland. The Directorate of Health website has further information on the efficacy of the vaccines. Þroskahjálp (National Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities) have prepared a pamphlet in easy-to-read language on the use of vaccines for COVID-19.

AstraZeneca

The AstraZeneca vaccine contains a cold virus that has been inactivated so that it cannot reproduce and genetic material added for the same protein as our bodies produce after the mRNA vaccination.

The vaccine is transported and stored under the same conditions as the vaccines we use in routine primary care. There are 10 doses in each vial and they must be used within a few hours of opening the vial. Therefore, the vaccine is ideal for rural areas.

Allergic reactions are not as common for this vaccine as for the mRNA vaccines. An unusual type of blood clot has been reported as a serious but rare side effect in many European countries, which is why its use has been discontinued for women under 55 and for people with a previous history or risk of blood clots.

AstraZeneca is registered for individuals aged 18 and over. To begin with, there was uncertainty about efficacy in those aged 65 and older due to the small number of participants in that age group in pre-marketing research, but the data available is now adequate following research in the UK. Studies on vaccinating children have begun. It is now given to women 55 and older who are not at risk for phlebothrombosis or blood clots, and to men of all ages who meet the same criteria.

It takes 12 weeks to finalise the vaccination. The period between injections can be shorter, but this provides the best protection.  

Janssen

The Janssen vaccine contains a cold virus that has been inactivated so that it cannot reproduce and genetic material added for the same protein as our bodies produce after the mRNA vaccination.

The vaccine is transported frozen but can be stored at the vaccination site under the same conditions as the vaccines used daily in primary care. There are five doses in each vial and they must be used within a few hours of opening the vial. Therefore, the vaccine is ideal for rural areas.

Allergic reactions are not as common for this vaccine as for the mRNA vaccines. Blood clots of the same type known with the AstraZeneca vaccine have occurred where millions of doses have been used but are extremely rare.

The vaccine has a marketing authorisation license as a one shot vaccine and is the only such vaccine used in Iceland. One dose of Janssen significantly reduces the risk of infection, serious illness and death from COVID-19 disease. Therefore, it can be well suited for individuals who are difficult to reach for re-vaccination due to residence, work or otherwise. It is being investigated whether a booster dose further strengthens the defense.

Janssen is used for individuals 18 years or older, but studies on vaccinating children have begun. The vaccine is given to those that might not be able to receive two doses in Iceland, such as individuals who work in Iceland but reside in a foreign country or work in a foreign country but reside in Iceland.

This vaccine is not recommended for immune compromised individuals or pregnant women.

Moderna

The Moderna vaccine is a so-called mRNA vaccine. It contains no virus, but rather genetic material in a lipid particle. The body reads the genetic material and produces proteins that the immune system learns to recognise.

The vaccine must be transported and stored in the dark and 11 doses can be extracted from each vial with the right equipment. The vaccine must be used immediately after mixing without delay. Therefore, it is best to use the vaccine in urban areas where large groups of people can be called in.

Allergic reactions are more common than with some other vaccines.

The vaccine is used for individuals 18 years or older but studies on vaccinating children have begun. The vaccine is used for groups that need to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Four to five weeks should elapse between doses and no more than five weeks.

Pfizer/BioNTech

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is a so-called mRNA vaccine. It contains no virus, but rather genetic material in a lipid particle. The body reads the genetic material and produces proteins that the immune system learns to recognise.

Must be transported in very cold conditions but can be stored in a refrigerator for a few days before use. Six doses can be extracted from each vial with the right equipment. The vaccine must be used immediately after mixing and therefore it is best to vaccinate a group of people simultaneously.

Allergic reactions are more common than with some other vaccines.

The vaccine is used for individuals 16 years or older but studies on vaccinating children over 12 years of age have been done and are now being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency. This is currently the only vaccination used in Iceland that's permitted for children 16-18 years of age. Three weeks should elapse between doses and no more than six weeks.

Bólusetning

Hvernig fæ ég boð í bólusetningu?

Ef þú býrð eða starfar á Íslandi áttu rétt á bólusetningu við COVID-19.

Bólusetning er og verður gjaldfrjáls og engin verður skyldaður í bólusetningu.

Þau bóluefni sem notuð eru hér á landi við COVID-19 eru örugg og veita bestu mögulegu vernd gegn sjúkdómnum. Markmið bólusetningar við COVID-19 er að vernda fólk fyrir sjúkdómnum og ná upp hjarðónæmi sem hindrar útbreiðslu faraldursins.

Boð um bólusetningu koma í SMS-skilaboðum þar sem fram kemur hvar og hvenær viðkomandi á að mæta. Mikilvægt er að hafa símanúmer skráð í sjúkraskrá til að boðin berist.

Hægt er að óska eftir bólusetningu á netspjalli heilsuveru.is (höfuðborgarsvæðið) eða á heilsugæslustöð (á landsbyggðinni). Það á líka við um alla sem búa og/eða starfa á Íslandi. Það er ekki hægt að panta tíma, en boð berast með sms (eingöngu íslensk símanúmer).

Bólusetningarskírteini er aðgengilegt á mínum síðum á heilsuvera.is einni viku eftir að fullri bólusetningu er lokið sem og á heilsugæslustöðinni þinni.

Ef þú ert ekki sjúkratryggð/ur á Íslandi en býrð hér eða starfar áttu samt rétt á bólusetningu.

Ef þú ert sjúkratryggð/ur á Íslandi þá:

Færðu boð í íslenska símanúmerið þitt ef það er skráð á heilsuveru.is eða hjá heilsugæslunni þinni.
Þú getur opnað heilsuveru með rafrænum skilríkjum og lagfært símanúmerið þitt ef þarf.
Ef þú ert ekki með rafræn skilríki þá hefur þú samband við heilsugæsluna þína og biður þau að setja inn réttar upplýsingar.

Að skrá sig á heilsugæslustöð:

Á landsbyggðinni skráist þú sjálfkrafa samkvæmt lögheimili þínu.
Á höfuðborgarsvæðinu þarftu að skrá þig á heilsugæslustöð. Það er hægt í eigin persónu á heilsugæslustöðinni sem þú velur eða í réttindagátt sjúkratrygginga (rafræn skilríki nauðsynleg)

Veistu ekki hvort þú ert sjúkratryggð/ur á Íslandi?  

Sjúkratrygging á Íslandi er byggð á lögheimilisskráningu.
6 mánuðum eftir fulla skráningu hjá Þjóðskrá ertu sjálfkrafa sjúkratryggð/ur
Ath. að kerfiskennitala dugar ekki.

Áður en 6 mánuðir eru frá fullri skráningu hjá Þjóðskra þarftu að uppfylla skilyrði til að fá sjúkratryggingu:

Að vera frá öðru EES landi og með sjúkratryggingu þar.  Sækja þarf um slíkt hjá sjukra.is  

Ef þú ert ekki sjúkratryggð/ur á Íslandi en býrð hér eða starfar áttu samt rétt á bólusetningu.

Upplýsingar um skráningu starfsmanna og íbúa af erlendum uppruna sem ekki hafa íslenska kennitölu

Rafræn skilríki

Þú þarft að hafa íslenska kennitölu (full skráning hjá Þjóðskrá, ekki kerfiskennitala) og skilríki sem sýna kennitöluna
Þú þarft að hafa snjallsíma og íslenskt símanúmer
Þú þarft að fara á skráningarstað í eigin persónu með símann og skilríkin til að virkja rafræn skilríki

Ef þú þarft frekari aðstoð getur þú haft samband á íslensku eða ensku á netspjalli covid.is eða hjá Ráðgjafastofu fyrir innflytjendur (New in Iceland) sem geta aðstoðað þig á fleiri tungumálum.