Danish health authorities sought vaccine supply ‘outside of EU arrangement’

Health authorities in Denmark asked Covid-19 vaccine supplier Pfizer to sell them vaccines outside of the EU agreement, according to a media report.

Danish health authorities sought vaccine supply 'outside of EU arrangement'
Photo: Stephane Mahe/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Although Denmark is part of the EU joint strategy to purchase Covid-19 vaccines, national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI), along with the Danish Medicines Agency, asked Pfizer to provide vaccines faster and in a higher number than Denmark is entitled to through the EU scheme, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reports.

In return, Denmark could provide clinical data for the company to analyse the efficacy of its product, according to the reported offer.

“It's clear that at the current time in the epidemic, it would be a huge advantage to get more vaccines faster,” Henrik Ullum, the head of SSI, told Jyllands-Posten.

The government did not comment on whether it green-lighted the offer, when approached by the paper.

The offer was made at a meeting with Pfizer’s northern European sales organisation in New Year’s Eve, Jyllands-Posten writes.

Denmark, in a mooted partnership with Iceland, offered to provide clinical field data to the company in return for an additional vaccine supply, according to the newspaper.

An agreement both within and outside of the EU procurement agreements was discussed. Pfizer did not express any position on the offer and Ullum no longer sees it as an option, while the company has also declined to comment on the report, the newspaper writes.

Denmark is currently the leading country in the EU in terms of the proportion of people who have received the first dose of the vaccine relevant to the whole population. 2.04 percent of people in Denmark had received the first dose as of January 12th.

Globally, Israel is by far the most advanced with vaccinations at 22.01 percent (January 13th). The United Kingdom is at 3.89 percent (January 12th) and the United States 3.11 percent (January 13th), having approved the Pfizer vaccine earlier than the EU. The figures come from Our World in Data.

COMPARE: How fast are European countries vaccinating their populations?

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


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.”