People in risk groups for serious illness with the virus will be given first priority once a coronavirus vaccination is available, officials confirmed.
The Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) expects the country’s vaccination programme to commence at the beginning of 2021, with some optimism the very first vaccines could be given in December 2020, DR writes.
Those timescales are set out in a plan entitled Udrulning af vaccination mod Covid-19 (Rolling Out Vaccination Against Covid-19), published by the authority on Thursday.
According to the plan, vaccination will initially be offered to persons in specified risk groups and to selected key workers in the health, elderly and social care sectors.
No vaccine has been approved by the Danish Medicines Agency (Lægemiddelstyrelsen), but the country has pre-purchase agreements with five medical companies which are developing vaccines.
At least two candidates, from Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer, are nearing approval stage, according to international reports.
“In the most optimistic scenario, the first vaccines will be delivered to Denmark at the end of this year,” health minister Magnus Heunicke said at a press briefing on Thursday evening.
All residents in Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands will be offered a vaccine under the national vaccination plan, Heunicke said.
“If we receive the vaccine before Christmas, we will be ready to roll out the plan,” Danish Health Authority director Søren Brostrøm said at the briefing.
“If we get it a little later in 2021, we’ll be even more ready,” he added.
The plan presented by authorities on Thursday separates the vaccination programme into two main phases 1 and 2, which are further divided into two subsets, A and B.
During Phase 1A, described as the “limited vaccine supply” phase, people at risk of serious illness from Covid-19 infection will be offered the vaccine along with workers in the health and elderly care sectors and some social care staff.
In Phase 1B, supply is described as “extended vaccine supply for smaller groups”. Here, remaining people at risk of more serious illness with Covid-19 will be offered the vaccine, as will the same groups of key workers as in Phase 1A.
Additionally, people in “selected critical societal functions” may be offered the vaccine if it is available, according to the plan.
Phase 2A requires “vaccine supply for larger groups”. Here, “segmented” vaccination to the general population will become available in accordance with criteria such as age.
The final phase, 2B, will provide vaccines according to demand, with no limit on availability.
A time scale for the plan was estimated at “most of a year” by Danish Medicines Agency director Thomas Senderovitz.
In the meantime, social distancing requirements and other measures used to reduce virus spread will remain in place, Brostrøm said.
“The vaccine doesn’t remove everything. We will be maintaining our recommendations. Including for vaccinated people,” the health authority director said.
Locations currently used as Covid-19 test centres will initially be used as vaccination centres, he also said.