New plan boosts Denmark’s Pfizer vaccine deliveries

Pharma company Pfizer has revised its plan for deliveries of its Covid-19 vaccine to Denmark in the coming months.

New plan boosts Denmark’s Pfizer vaccine deliveries
Photo: Mario Tama/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

The plan has been updated after the company reached a deal with the European Union to expedite deliveries of its vaccine which had been scheduled for later in 2021.

Pfizer/BioNTech now expects to deliver an extra 700,000 doses of its vaccine to Denmark in the second quarter of this year. The figure was confirmed by the Danish national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI) via its website.

The week beginning Monday April 26th will see at least 270,000 doses of the company’s vaccine delivered to Denmark on a weekly basis. That will further increase from May 31st, with between 388,440 and 389,610 doses arriving each week for the five weeks following on from that date.

The numbers are stated on a summary available on the SSI website.

News of the extra doses was welcomed by the agency’s deputy director Ole Jensen.

“In a situation in which the AstraZeneca vaccine will be playing a smaller role in the vaccination of the Danish public it is very positive that Pfizer can push forward deliveries which we should have had later in the year,” Jensen said in a written comment.

Denmark confirmed earlier this week it will withdraw the AstraZeneca vaccine from the country’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Nordic country said on Tuesday it would stop using the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine altogether, becoming the first European country to do so over suspected rare but serious side effects.

READ ALSO: Denmark withdraws AstraZeneca from Covid-19 vaccination programme

On Wednesday, the EU it would get 50 million Pfizer vaccine doses earlier than expected.

That was initially reported as giving an additional 650,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be sent to Denmark in the second quarter of 2021.

But the latest update from SSI suggests the figure will actually be 700,000. The new plan for weekly deliveries was published on Friday.

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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.”