Iceland has not banned COVID-19 vaccinations, contrary to post's claim | Fact check

The claim: Iceland banned COVID-19 vaccinations amid 'soaring sudden deaths'

A Nov. 26 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) includes a screenshot of a post on X, formerly Twitter, sharing what appears to be a news story about vaccine availability in Iceland.

"Alert: Iceland Bans Covid Shots amid Soaring Deaths," reads the X post. "It's clear now. #mRNA #CovidVaccines are responsible for soaring deaths across the world yet #NewZealand #Australia #Canada #USA and others are still pushing the shots. #ExcessDeaths #DiedSuddenly."

The Instagram post was liked more than 300 times in three days. The X post was liked about 6,000 times in three days.

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Our rating: False

Iceland has not banned COVID-19 vaccines, and there have not been "soaring sudden deaths," the country's chief epidemiologist said. COVID-19 vaccinations are available, and a seasonal vaccination campaign is underway.

Iceland's seasonal vaccination campaign has begun

Iceland is currently administering Pfizer's updated Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine, said Gudrun Aspelund, chief epidemiologist at the country's Centre for Health Security and Communicable Disease Control.

"Iceland has not banned COVID-19 vaccines, and there are no soaring sudden deaths either," Aspelund said in an email. "COVID-19 vaccinations are being administered and recommended to certain high-risk groups, but with no immediate plans to vaccinate the entire population."

There are no credible news reports about Iceland banning the COVID-19 vaccine or experiencing an unusual amount of "sudden deaths."

Iceland has recommended the vaccine this fall and winter for people older than 60, people older than 5 with underlying conditions and healthcare workers, according to Aspelund. She added that the country has scaled back vaccine purchases to minimize waste.

"There is no shortage," Aspelund said, "and if additional groups require vaccination, it is feasible."

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Iceland's Directorate of Health previously announced COVID-19 vaccinations would be available before the coming winter starting Oct. 2. The Icelandic newspaper Morgunbladid reported on Oct. 3 that seasonal vaccinations had started for the fall.

Iceland – a country of 370,000 people – reported that about 82% of its population over the age of 5 had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of March 2023. Full vaccination is two doses of vaccine.

The article linked in the X post claiming Iceland banned COVID-19 vaccinations does not provide evidence of the claim. The website did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Instagram user who shared the X post referencing the article and the X user who initially made the post did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Iceland didn't ban COVID-19 vaccines amid soaring deaths | Fact check