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AstraZeneca: Voluntary vaccination in Denmark possible but complicated

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
AstraZeneca: Voluntary vaccination in Denmark possible but complicated
Region Hovedstaden covid-19 vaccinecenter under generalprøve i vaccinationscenteret i Øksnehallen i København, fredag den 26. februar 2021. I løbet af fredagen forventes fem tusinde københavnere vaccineret i centeret.. (Foto: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix)

Denmark’s national health authority has said that the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 could be offered to members of the public outside of the country's regular vaccination programme, but the pathway to such an arrangement is complicated.

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The Danish Health Authority has found that voluntary inoculation with the AstraZeneca vaccine could be offered to individuals following its withdrawal from general use last week, but a number of issues must first be clarified.

Health minister Magnus Heunicke last week asked the Danish Health Authority to submit an outline for how the country’s shelved AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines can be given to individuals who consent to take it.

That outline has now been submitted.

According to the outline, Denmark is currently in possession of 270,000 unused doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, and can still expect to receive a further 325,000 in May.

“The overall assessment of the Danish Health Authority is that it would be possible to establish an option whereby members of the public who wish to do so can choose to be vaccinated with Vaxzevria [AstraZeneca vaccine, ed.] outside of the mass vaccination programme via concrete and specific medical prescription,” the authority wrote in the response submitted to parliament.

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However, it would take “several weeks” to clarify a number of issues, with the benefits of such an arrangement receding over that time as the general vaccination programme moves forward, the authority found.

The Health Authority did not find such a scheme would have “major significance for epidemic control,” it said.

Among potential obstacles in allowing GPs to give the vaccine outside of the general programme would be the need for individual assessments and patient interviews as part of the decision making process to vaccinate according to individual wishes.

Additionally, the vaccines are supplied in batches of 100, and must be administered within 48 hours at the same location, making their use at individual GP’s clinics impractical.

A new system would also be required for doctors to be able to individually register vaccinations and any side effects reported by patients.

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