Covid vaccines are still available in Iceland

20 December 2023
What was claimed

Iceland has recently banned the Covid-19 vaccine.

Our verdict

This is not true. It appears to come from a misunderstanding of a newspaper report.


Many posts on Facebook claim that Iceland has banned Covid-19 vaccines. One post from 1 December 2023 says: “As of this week, COVID-19 injections are no longer available in Iceland after being banned by the government.”

This is not true.

Like many countries, Iceland no longer offers Covid boosters to most of its population. However, it does still recommend Covid vaccine boosters every six months for people over 60 or those with chronic diseases.

The claim seems to have originated as a misunderstanding of an article in an Icelandic newspaper.

False information about health policy can spread widely on social media, and may be dangerous, if people use it to make decisions about their health.

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Where the claim comes from

Several Facebook posts cite articles that report that a former pharmaceutical executive Sasha Latypova was told in the autumn of 2023 “that the Icelandic government announced that, from next week, COVID-19 injections would no longer be available in Iceland”.

This seems to be based on a blog post written by Ms Latypova, in which she shared an article from an Icelandic newspaper, the final line of which said (in her translation): “Next week, the public will be able to get an influenza vaccination at the health center, but not covid vaccination at the moment.”

However, this does not mean—and Ms Latypova did not say—that Covid vaccines would no longer be available anywhere in Iceland. 

In fact, although Iceland did mostly stop administering Covid vaccines during the summer of 2023, this was in order to help plan its autumn 2023 vaccination programme for vulnerable people.

The chief epidemiologist at Iceland’s Centre for Health Security and Communicable Disease Control, Gudrun Aspelund, told fact checkers at USA Today: “Iceland has not banned COVID-19 vaccines, and there are no soaring sudden deaths either. COVID-19 vaccinations are being administered and recommended to certain high-risk groups, but with no immediate plans to vaccinate the entire population.”

In October 2021, the Icelandic government did announce that the country would stop using the Moderna vaccine, and use only the Pfizer vaccine instead, while more information was collected on the safety of the Moderna vaccine. However, the Moderna vaccine was in use in Iceland again at least by the spring of 2023.

Ms Latypova confirmed with Full Fact that her source did not say that Covid vaccines had been banned in Iceland. She also told us that, according to her source, they were generally unavailable. We have not been able to verify this, and it seems to be contradicted by the country’s Directorate of Health.  

Ms Latypova also posted a public reply to a similar request from fact checkers at Reuters, in which she did not dispute that Covid vaccines were not banned in Iceland.

One online article that reported the supposed vaccine ban added a note after we contacted them. The article still falsely claims that Iceland has banned Covid vaccines however.

Image courtesy of Adam Jang 

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