Information and statistics on vaccinations against COVID-19

Information

If you live or work in Iceland, you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination.

The purpose of the vaccination is to protect individuals from contracting COVID-19 and to prevent severe illness.

The organization and implementation of the vaccinations is managed by local healthcare centres and healthcare facilities around the country. Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen are available. Those who wish to make use of this service of the health care centres need to book an appointment at a health care centre on My pages on the webpage Heilsuvera.is. Vaccination is free of charge.

If you are 16 years old or above and you received the second dose of your primary vaccination no less than 4 months ago are welcome to get a booster dose of the vaccine. Those who are unvaccinated or have received only one dose of the vaccine are specifically encouraged to come. Further information for individuals without Icelandic Identification Number.

Certificate of vaccination can be obtained from heilsuvera.is one week after a full vaccination is completed. The vaccination certificate may be needed for travel between countries. The certificate is valid for 9 months after primary vaccination is finished but a booster dose cancels this expiration date.

Vaccinations are and will be free of charge, and no one will be forced to be vaccinated.

Questions and answers regarding COVID-19 vaccination

Frequently asked questions and answers in English about vaccination against COVID-19 on the website of the Directorate of Health.
Information on booster vaccinations from 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).

If you live or work in Iceland, you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination.

You will simply need to provide your Identification Number at the vaccination site, no appointment is needed.

Further registration guidelines for those who do not have an Identification Number or those who have a System ID Number.

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 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) has prepared a pamphlet in easy-to-read language on the use of vaccines for COVID-19.

AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria)

Used in primary vaccinations in 2021, two doses at a 12-week interval. The AstraZeneca vaccine contains a cold virus that has been inactivated so that it cannot reproduce and genetic material has been added for the same protein as our bodies produce after the mRNA vaccination.

Allergic reactions are not as common for this vaccine as for the mRNA vaccines. An unusual type of blood clot is a serious but rare side effect, 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.

Not used for booster vaccinations.

Janssen

Used through April 2022. The Janssen vaccine contains a cold virus that has been inactivated so that it cannot reproduce and genetic material has been added for the same protein as our bodies produce after the mRNA vaccination.

Allergic reactions are not as common for this vaccine as for the mRNA vaccines. Blood clots of the same type as 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 reduced the risk of infection, serious illness and death from COVID-19 disease due to the original virus but proved less effective against the Delta and Omicron variants. A booster dose significantly enhances efficacy, but after the second dose, protection is similar to two doses of other vaccines.

Registered for ages 18 and over. The vaccine is not recommended for severely immunocompromised people or pregnant women.

Can be used for post-vaccination booster vaccinations with another vaccine if the individual can not tolerate the mRNA vaccine.

Moderna (Spikevax)

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.

Allergic reactions are more common than with some other vaccines.

The drug can be used for those 12 years and older but is not used for ages 12–17 in Iceland. Discontinuation of use for 18- to 39-year-old men in autumn 2021 due to myocarditis, which is more common with Moderna vaccination than other COVID vaccines.

Four weeks should elapse between the primary vaccination doses and no more than five weeks.

Used for booster vaccination for women from 18 years of age and men from 40 years of age.

Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty)

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.

Allergic reactions are more common than with some other vaccines.

Used for those aged 5 years and older. A minimum of three weeks must elapse between doses for primary vaccination, but longer intervals also provide good protection.

The most widely used vaccine in Iceland, both for primary and booster vaccinations.

Novavax (Nuvaxovid)

Used from March 2022. The Novavax vaccine contains the S protein found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus and does not need to be produced in the body after vaccination. It is therefore a protein vaccine similar to influenza vaccine or hepatitis B vaccine. An innovative adjuvant, Matrix M, made from soaptree, is in the vaccine and therefore there is relatively little S protein in each dose.

Allergies have an unknown frequency.

The vaccine has marketing authorisation for ages 18 and over. A minimum of three weeks must elapse between two doses for primary vaccination.

There is no marketing authorisation for booster vaccination, but studies from the UK support that it be used for booster vaccination if the mRNA vaccine is not considered safe.

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

Vaccination reduces the risk of infection although it does not provide complete protection. Those who are fully vaccinated are far less likely to develop serious illness than those who are unvaccinated.

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 gatherings, mask requirements, workplace measures).

Those who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and have a certificate to that effect can travel between countries without having to quarantine when they arrive in Iceland. However, border restrictions in other countries vary. Vaccination certificates are valid for 9 months after the primary vaccination is completed, but a booster dose cancels this expiration date.

Please refer to this table on the website of the Directorate of Health to understand when you should receive the next vaccine dose, based on your medical history of COVID-19 infections and vaccination status.

Vaccination does not exempt you from the requirement to isolate if you test positive for COVID-19.

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

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

Bólusetning er gjaldfrjáls og enginn er 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. Nánari upplýsingar um bóluefni, aukaverkanir og algengar spurningar.

Þau sem eru ekki búin að fá COVID-19 bólusetningu

Hægt er að skrá sig í bólusetningu, óháð því hvort einstaklingur er með kennitölu eða ekki (á íslensku / á ensku). Það er yfirleitt Pfizer/BioNTech en hægt er að óska eftir Janssen. Vandaðu skráninguna því það er ekki hægt að breyta upplýsingunum eftirá.
Taka þarf fram hvar á landinu er óskað eftir að bólusetning sé gerð.

Sérstök tilvik

Boð um viðbótarskammt eða örvunarskammt í bólusetningu koma í SMS-skilaboðum þar sem fram kemur hvar og hvenær viðkomandi á að mæta. Það á meðal annars við um þau sem fengu Janssen bóluefni. Mælt er með örvunarskammti með mRNA bóluefni, oftast er notað Pfizer/BioNTech.

Örvunarbólusetning eykur varnir gegn COVID-19 smiti og alvarlegum veikindum umfram tvo skammta. Meiri upplýsingar eru um örvunarbólusetningar á vef landlæknis.

Ef þú hefur fengið einn skammt af bóluefni erlendis. Ef bóluefnið er líka notað á Íslandi er mælt með því að þú klárir bólusetningu með bóluefni sem er til á bólusetningastað næst þér. Það er yfirleitt Pfizer/BioNTech, en þú getur óskað eftir öðru í athugasemd og mikilvægt er að láta einnig vita á netspjalli heilsuveru.

Ef þú fékkst bóluefni sem ekki er til á Íslandi og vilt fá vottorð hér, er mælt með að þú fáir einn skammt af Janssen.

Ef þú hefur fengið COVID-19 er mælt með bólusetningu með Janssen. Það veitir góða vörn gegn endurteknum veikindum og veitir gilt bólusetningarvottorð. Það má nota Pfizer/BioNTech en þá þarf að fá tvo skammta til að fá gilt vottorð.

Börnum 5 - 15 ára er boðin bólusetning og foreldrar/forráðamenn þurfa að veita samþykki sitt fyrir því og fylgja barninu í bólusetningu. Ekki er mælt með örvunarbólusetningu fyrir þennan aldurshóp enn sem komið er.

Bólusetningarvottorð

Bólusetningarvottorð er aðgengilegt á mínum síðum á heilsuvera.is einni viku eftir að fullri bólusetningu er lokið sem og á heilsugæslustöðinni þinni. Örvunarskammtur lengir gildistímann.
Bólusetningarvottorð fyrir börn (yngri en 16 ára) eru á mínum síðum foreldra/forráðamanna sem og á heilsugæslustöðinni þeirra. Það þarf að skipta um notanda efst í hægra horninu á Mínum síðum foreldris/forráðamanns til að finna síðu barnsins.
Börn 16 ára og eldri hafa sínar eigin síður og þurfa rafræn skilríki, annars geta þau fengið vottorð á heilsugæslustöðinni sinni.

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

Hægt er að skrá sig í bólusetingu, óháð því hvort einstaklingur er með kennitölu eða ekki (á íslensku / á ensku). Það er yfirleitt Pfizer/BioNTech en hægt er að óska eftir Janssen.  Vandaðu skráninguna því það er ekki hægt að breyta upplýsingunum eftirá.
Ef þú ert ekki með íslenska kennitölu þarftu að skrá nafn, fæðingardag, kyn, ríkisfang og tegund og númer skilríkja, s.s. vegabréf eða skilríki frá Útlendingastofnun.
Taka þarf fram hvar á landinu er óskað eftir að bólusetning sé gerð.

Ef þú ert sjúkratryggð/ur á Íslandi:

Þú getur opnað heilsuveru með rafrænum skilríkjum og lagfært símanúmerið þitt og aðrar upplýsingar ef með 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 Þjóðskrá þarftu að uppfylla skilyrði til að fá sjúkratryggingu:

Að vera frá öðru EES landi og með sjúkratryggingu þar.  Umsókn um sjúkratryggingu á Íslandi.

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.

Kynningarefni á fleiri tungumálum

General vaccination of children aged 5–11 years against COVID-19 will begin in January

Guardians of children in Iceland will be offered vaccination for 5- to 11-year-old children at the beginning of 2022. At the end of November, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 received a marketing authorisation in Europe for children aged 5–11 years. This age group will receive a different dose than older age groups: one-third of the adult dose.

Benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 for children

During the first waves of COVID-19, infection was not common in children. When the Delta variant appeared, illness in this age group increased considerably. Thus, children at this age are about 8.7% of the country’s population, but the proportion of infected children has been much higher than that from August to mid-December, or 17.6%. In some weeks, children were up to a third of all infections. Of the 12,500 who have been infected during this period, 2,200 are children.  

No children in this age group have had to be hospitalised, but about 80 children have become ill enough to be under additional supervision at the COVID outpatient department (yellow status). Vaccination reduces the likelihood of a child becoming infected and, consequently, of serious complications from COVID-19.

Infections caused by COVID-19 significantly disrupt people’s daily lives, especially in the case of children. These circumstances can cause concern for the health of the infected and can also have an emotional impact. The isolation of infected children from others in the family has often led to families having to split up. About half of those who have accompanied children in isolation have been infected as a result, and the separation of companions from other family members has lasted even longer. If the household is, for some reason, not divided, infection chains have occurred in families that have sometimes lasted for weeks.

Fewer infections among children at this age result in fewer infections in schools. Then the need for quarantine and disruption of school and leisure activities due to infection is reduced. This reduces the spread of infection in the community and reduces the need for community measures to stop the spread. See further in the summary of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.  

Research and safety of vaccination for children against COVID-19

Pfizer/BioNTech conducted a study of 1,528 children aged 5–11 years, as well as a special safety study in which an additional 1,122 children were followed for 2–4 weeks after the second dose. The results of these studies showed similar side effects in children as in 12- to 17-year-old adolescents and in adults. The results of that study have not been made public but were used as a basis for marketing authorisations by the US and European Medicines Agencies.

According to the manufacturer’s studies, vaccination was found to be over 90% effective in preventing infection 7 days to 2.3 months after the second vaccination, with the Delta variant prevailing during the study period.

The most common side effects (especially injection site pain, fatigue and headache) are possibly slightly less common in this age group than in adolescents. Too few children were vaccinated in these studies to be able to state the frequency of rare side effects.

No cases of myocarditis or pericarditis were reported in the pre-marketing studies.

The CDC in the United States has now published the first statement on side effects among 5- to 11-year-olds in that country. As expected, the incidence rate of myocarditis is lower than in 12- to 17-year-olds, or up to 2/1,000,000 vaccinations, but in 12- to 17-year-olds, the incidence rate was 9/100,000 vaccinations. This is in line with the fact that the incidence rate of myocarditis and pericarditis in 5- to 11-year-olds for other reasons is much lower than in older children and young adults. The gender ratio of myocarditis after vaccination at 5–11 years is equal according to this statement. It should also be borne in mind that the incidence of myocarditis due to COVID-19 infection is much higher than after vaccination in young adults, but the incidence rate is still unknown in children.

Further information can be found in the Chief Epidemiologist’s article from 13 December 2021.

Further information on the Directorate of Health’s website (in English) here.

Material for children about vaccination against COVID-19.