Fact Check: Risk of Dying From AstraZeneca Is NOT Higher Than Of COVID-19 In Norway

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Risk of Dying From AstraZeneca Is NOT Higher Than Of COVID-19 In Norway Misunderstood

Did Norwegian scientists say it was less risky to catch COVID-19 than to take the AstraZeneca vaccine? No, that's not true: The Norwegian Institute of Public Health believes the AstraZeneca is a good vaccine, but since Norway has a low infection rate, its younger population can wait for a vaccine alternative.

The claim originated in an article published by Sputnik News on April 23, 2021, titled "Norway: Risk of Dying From AstraZeneca Higher Than of COVID-19," (archived here) which opened:

While waiting for the final decision on the controversial vaccine, Norway has decided to distribute its stock of AstraZeneca to fellow Nordic countries that actually want to use them despite the associated risks.

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Norway: Risk of Dying From AstraZeneca Higher Than of COVID-19

While waiting for the final decision on the controversial vaccine, Norway has decided to distribute its stock of AstraZeneca to fellow Nordic countries that actually...

Lead Stories emailed Geir Bukholm, the director of Infection Control and Prevention at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), for comment on the claim on May 6, 2021.

Bukholm emailed back the same day: "No, we have never said that catching covid is safer than taking the vaccine. We think that the AstraZeneca vaccine is a good vaccine, and that this vaccine is one of the cornerstones of the global vaccination programs against covid-19."

Sputnik News took an article on the NIPH website explaining the AstraZeneca debate in Norway and spun it to make it seem as though having the coronavirus would be better than getting the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The NIPH recommendation to the government was based on the fact that few Norwegians have died of COVID-19 and that most of the elderly have already been vaccinated or soon will be.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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