Danish company offers to help with Covid-19 vaccine production

Danish firm Bavarian Nordic has offered the use of a newly-operational factory, which It says could produce 240 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine per year.

Danish company offers to help with Covid-19 vaccine production
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

No vaccine producers have taken up the offer so far despite known issues with production of the vaccines, financial newspaper Børsen reports.

Bavarian Nordic’s CEO Paul Chaplin told Børsen that the company wishes to make its capacity available to help governments along with companies which already have had vaccines approved.

“We are a bit frustrated about hearing about shortages and lack of capacity.

“I would also like to have a vaccine and our staff are ready to do our part for Denmark, Scandinavia and Europe, but it’s clear that people have to want to use us,” the CEO said.

Bavarian Nordic has been in dialogue with producers of approved Covid-19 vaccines, Chaplin told Børsen.

He also said his company has been in contact with the Danish government and offered to assist in vaccinating the public.

The Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI), a major interest organisation for Danish businesses, called for authorities in Denmark to involve private companies in the vaccination effort.

“It probably does not make sense in the short term to talk about Danish production of active pharmaceutical components,”Peder Søgaard-Pedersen, head of DI Life Science, said in a written comment.

“But the available Danish capacity can probably be used for later parts of production, such as filling, packaging and labelling,” he added.

“Anything which can increase supply of vaccines should be put to use,” he said.

According to Børsen’s report, Bavarian Nordic and Pfizer are currently in dialogue over using the Danish company’s capacity.

The latter company declined to comment, but said it has revised its expected production for 2021 from 1.3 billion to 2 billion doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, in part due to an upgrade of its plant in Belgium.

READ ALSO: EU launches 'vaccine tracker' and shifts strategy away from AstraZeneca

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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.”