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NORWAY

Doctors leave Sweden for Norway’s work hours

A small Norwegian country hospital has almost only Swedish doctors on its staff. Most have come from the same clinic in Sweden, seeking more attractive employment terms in Norway.

Doctors leave Sweden for Norway’s work hours

“Of course it is tragic to lose doctors. First you hear of one that is leaving and then another. It is very sad,” said county council head for Dalarna, Karin Stikå Mjöberg to national broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR).

In total, 14 doctors, most of which where specialists, left the hospital in Mora, central Sweden, to take up employment across the border in Tynset, Norway.

According to the broadcaster, the exodus caused the very existence of the Mora hospital to be threatened at one point, but somehow they managed to pull through.

“The remaining doctors have had to work much harder,” said Stikå Mjöberg to SR.

Tynset is one of Norway’s smallest hospitals and 18 out of the clinic’s 20 doctors are Swedish. According to the head of the hospital, Stein Tronsmoen, the hospital could not manage without the Swedes:

“We would find it difficult to staff the hospital,” he told the broadcaster.

In Norway, there is a lack of specialized physicians but Tynset hospital seems to have no problem recruiting Swedes.

According to SR it is the working hours of two weeks on followed by four weeks off, at the same pay as a full-time position, that are attracting the Swedes to Norway.

Tronsmoen has no regrets when it comes to pinching the Swedish specialists from across the border:

“In Europe there is a free labour market. And we are in it through the EEA agreement. That’s just the way it is,” he told SR.

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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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