Denmark adjusts expected date for completion of Covid-19 vaccination programme

Everyone in Denmark who wants to be inoculated against Covid-19 will be given the chance to do so by June 27th, according to an updated health authority plan.

Denmark adjusts expected date for completion of Covid-19 vaccination programme
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Health Authority has moved the expected completion date forward by a week, according to information published on its website on Monday.

The brings the expected date for completion of second doses back to June 27th. It was previously moved from June 27th to July 4th. Delayed or reduced shipments of vaccines have earlier been advised by suppliers Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna.

But Pfizer is now expected to increase deliveries, while AstraZeneca will supply fewer than previously slated.

“Overall this means we can look forward to receiving 900,000 more doses than we expected to as of last week – and that means that we can expect to have vaccinated everyone who wants this… no later than June 27th,” Danish Health Authority director Søren Brostrøm said in a statement.

“As such, most of the population will be completely vaccinated when we reach the summer holidays,” Brostrøm added.

The agency stressed that the plan remains based on prognoses over vaccine deliveries as well as the approval of a new vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. It is therefore subject to change.

A broad section of the population is in the so-called lowest priority ‘group 12’, encompassing people not in higher risk groups due to age or underlying conditions or of higher priority due to their job or close relation to an at risk person.

That group can expect to begin vaccination in May.

READ ALSO: When and how can foreign residents get the Covid-19 vaccine in Denmark?

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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.”