Danish health agency to contact recipients of AstraZeneca vaccine

The Danish Medicines Agency is to contact people who have received the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to provide precautionary advice.

Danish health agency to contact recipients of AstraZeneca vaccine
Danish Health Authority director Søren Brostrøm. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Every fourth person vaccinated in Denmark has received the AstraZeneca vaccine. They will now receive a letter from the Danish Medicines Agency, Danish Health Authority director Soren Brostrøm told broadcaster TV2.

The letter will draw attention to the symptoms of blood clots that those vaccinated should be aware of. People will receive the letter via e-boks, the electronic mail platform accessible to Danish residents via the secure NemID system.

Health authorities will directly contact members of the public after the Danish Medicines Agency decided on Thursday to pause vaccinating with AstraZeneca after finding cases of blood clots shortly after vaccination.

Authorities in Austria previously stopped vaccinations with a batch of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 inoculation after a nurse died and another became seriously ill after receiving their jabs. The nurse died as a result of severe coagulation disorders, an illness related to the blood’s ability to clot. 

There has also been a death in Denmark, according to the Danish Medicines Agency. It is still unknown whether the vaccine is the direct cause of the blood clots.

“What we are doing now is sending a letter to everyone who has received the vaccine from AstraZeneca, stating what they should be aware of regarding symptoms of blood clots,” Brostrøm said to TV2. He also pointed out that if you experience symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately.

In total, 142,102 people in Denmark have received their first dose of the vaccine from the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, according to the tally from the national infectious disease agency, State Serum Institute.

There are different symptoms of blood clots, depending on where it is located. According to Danish charity The Heart Foundation (Hjerteforeningen), symptoms of blood clots can include chest tightness, sudden shortness of breath, swelling and sudden discomfort. 

READ ALSO: Denmark extends Covid-19 vaccination programme by a further four weeks

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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.”