Denmark close to securing enough Covid-19 vaccines for entire population

Denmark has secured a further 3.9 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech after the EU reached agreement with the companies over the supply of new doses.

Denmark close to securing enough Covid-19 vaccines for entire population
Covid-19 vaccines being transported in Denmark. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

In total, Denmark now has arrangements in place to receive enough doses to vaccinate 5.25 million people. The country’s population is around 5.8 million (including children, who will not be offered the vaccine).

The agreement over the extra doses was confirmed by health minister Magnus Heunicke on Twitter.

A large number of the additional 3.9 million doses are scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2021.

“(This) means we can vaccinate more people as soon as the spring,” Heunicke wrote.

Data published earlier this week showed Denmark to be leading the way amongst EU countries in terms of the proportion of its population vaccinated so far. The first Covid-19 vaccinations in Denmark took place on December 27th.

As of Thursday, 1.41 percent of the Danish population has received the first of the vaccine’s two doses.

All residents at elderly care homes in the country will have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by Friday, provided they wish to receive it.

The EU’s latest agreement with Pfizer/BioNTech, announced Friday, puts in place the purchase of a further 300 million doses of vaccines for countries participating in the union’s procurement programme.

The EU Commission also approved the a second vaccine, produced by company Moderna, earlier this week, while a third, the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine, could be approved by the end of January.

READ ALSO: Denmark to roll out Covid-19 'vaccine passport'


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IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.”