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Sara Swann
By Sara Swann November 30, 2023

No, Iceland hasn’t banned COVID-19 vaccines

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  • Iceland’s health authority said the country has not banned COVID-19 vaccines and there hasn’t been a rise in deaths caused by the inoculation.

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are available in Iceland, the country’s health authority said.

Social media users are sharing a headline that claims Iceland has outlawed COVID-19 vaccines after a rise in "sudden deaths." But these claims are unfounded.

A Nov. 26 Instagram post showed an X post that said, "Alert: Iceland bans Covid shots amid soaring sudden deaths." The X post, shared the same day, linked to an article with a headline that made the same claim.

The Instagram post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

(Screengrab from Instagram)

The article linked in the social media posts cited organizers of an anti-COVID-19-vaccine conference, who said the Nordic island nation had banned the vaccines.

However, Iceland’s national health authority denied this claim.

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"Iceland has not banned COVID-19 vaccines, and there are no soaring sudden deaths either," Guðrún Aspelund, chief epidemiologist at the Icelandic Directorate of Health, told USA Today and Reuters. (PolitiFact reached out to Iceland’s health agency but did not hear back before publication.)

For fall and winter 2023, Aspelund said the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people older than 60, people older than 5 with underlying conditions and health care workers.

There were no announcements of a COVID-19 vaccine ban on the Directorate of Health’s website. We also found no credible news reports about such a ban or a rise in deaths in Iceland caused by the COVID-19 vaccine.

In 2021, Iceland, along with other Scandinavian countries, suspended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for young adults, following reports of blood clots in some people who had received that vaccine.

Other COVID-19 vaccines are still available in Iceland. In May, the Directorate of Health said the two COVID-19 vaccines currently used in the country are Pfizer-BioNTech's Comirnaty and Moderna's Spikevax.

About 80% of the roughly 372,000 people living in Iceland have received the primary course, or first two doses, of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Oct. 5, according to the European Union’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker.

We rate the claim that Iceland has banned the COVID-19 vaccine "amid soaring sudden deaths" False.

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No, Iceland hasn’t banned COVID-19 vaccines

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