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NORWAY

Wallenbergs look to strengthen Norway ties

The powerful Wallenberg family, which has major holdings in Swedish companies including Saab, Scania, Ericsson and SEB, wants to strengthen cooperation between Sweden and neighbouring Norway.

Marcus Wallenberg plans to visit northern Norway in June as part of a Swedish delegation including Industry Minister Maud Olofsson and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

Erik Belfrage, an advisor to the Wallenbergs, said that the historical barriers to cooperation between the countries were less important than before.

“We have a feeling that there is an interest in Norway in coming closer to Sweden – industrially, politically and in other ways. Perhaps it’s down to globalization, and with the hundred-year anniversary of the break-up of the union [between Sweden and Norway], that chapter is now behind us,” he said.

Belfrage said that June’s delegation would contain representatives from the public sector, universities and companies, as well as ministers and Marcus Wallenberg.

“The Wallenberg family has been involved in building up a chunk of Norwegian industry. Norsk Hydro [a Norwegian oil, energy and aluminium company], was built on a fair amount of Wallenberg capital,” he said.

The Norwegian government has chosen to direct Swedish interest to northern Norway, said Belfrage, adding that this was not a bad thing.

“There’s plenty of interest there, such as in the biotech area and the space sector,” he said.

Oil and gas exploitation in the region will also be a focus of the visit.

TT’s Per Vallgårda/The Local

NORWAY

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

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