The country’s health minister, Magnus Heunicke, on Monday announced that the end of the vaccination program would be once again pushed back, this time by a couple of weeks.
According to the Ritzau news wire, Denmark now expects 1.1m fewer vaccine doses to arrive in June and July, due to a delay in approving the CureVac vaccine, and lower than expected deliveries of the Moderna vaccine.
On Tuesday, the Danish Health Authority published an updated vaccination calendar showing the new expected vaccination dates for various age groups and other categories.
How many fewer doses are expected according to the new vaccination calendar?
In the previous vaccination calendar, dated May 10th, the authority expected 416,604 doses of “other vaccines” in June, more than 2m doses in both July and August. In the updated calendar, it expects none in June, only 1.5m in July, and 1.46m in August, a shortfall of about 1.5m doses. In the new calendar, it expects 888,000 doses of “other vaccines” to arrive instead in September.
There are also now expected to be fewer deliveries of the Moderna vaccines than previously expected (although the numbers in the latest vaccination calendar have not been changed from the May 10th one.
How will that change the start and finish of planned vaccinations for different age groups?
For those between the ages of 50 and 64, nothing is expected to change, with vaccinations complete by the end of the first week in July. (Those older than are already more or less vaccinated).
Those between the ages of 45 to 49, 35 to 39, 25 to 29, and 16 to 19 will all see their expected final vaccination pushed back by two weeks, while those in the 40 to 44 and 20 to 24 age bracket will see their vaccination deadline pushed back by a week.
How bad is the delay now compared to what Denmark originally hoped for?
When Denmark launched its vaccination programme at the end of December, the aim was for everyone to be fully vaccinated by June 27. This deadline has now been pushed back by two and a half months.
Is there a chance that the situation could improve?
Yes, the government has requested that the Danish Health Authority reconsider its decision to remove the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs from the official mass-vaccination programme, with a decision expected within two weeks.
"We need to make a trade-off where we look at the serious side effects and compare that to the potential to prevent serious diseases," Helene Probst, the authority's deputy director, told the Ritzau newswire.
The reassessment will look at the new data on side effects which has been collected internationally since Denmark made its decision.
It is unclear how the return of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines might affect the vaccination calendar.