Denmark buys 1.1m Pfizer doses from Romania

Denmark has bought 1.1m doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the Romanian government, potentially bringing forward vaccinations by two to three weeks.

Denmark buys 1.1m Pfizer doses from Romania
People in masks walk past a window in Bucharest with a vampire motif advising people to get vaccinated. Photo: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP

In a press release on Tuesday evening, Denmark’s health minister Magnus Heunicke said that the slow pace of vaccination in Romania had left the country with doses that it could not use. 

“We can do this deal because Romania is experiencing a low vaccination acceptance and therefore wants to sell excess vaccines that they are not allowed to use,” he said.

“With the vaccines purchased from Romania, more Danes can be vaccinated quickly. This is still more important now that we, unfortunately, have the more contagious delta variant… which is currently spreading rapidly in Denmark and the rest of the world.”

On Twitter, he wrote that the vaccines would be flown to Denmark as soon as possible, with a new vaccine calendar to be put together as soon as possible. 

Statens Serum Institut, which is responsible for managing the purchasing and logistics, said that the first vaccines would arrive in Denmark later this week. 

Denmark will now for the first time be able bring forward, rather than push back its vaccination calendar, with Denmark’s health minister, Magnus Heunicke, saying on Wednesday that he expected vaccinations to begin in the last age group in line, 30 to 34-year-olds, as early as this week.

“The 30 to 34-year-olds will be pushed forward and should receive a call to come and get vaccinated this week or next week. This shifts the vaccines forward a couple of weeks,” he told state broadcaster DR


READ ALSO: When can you now expect to get vaccinated in Denmark?

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the deal was “really good news to hear before leaving for the summer holidays”.

“This means that more Danes can now be vaccinated faster,” she added. “I would like to thank the Romanian Government for its good cooperation, and not least the Statens Serum Institut and the Danish embassy in Bucharest for their efficient and fast work.” 

Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod preempted criticism that Denmark was buying vaccines from a much poorer country by pointing out that Denmark had itself given away considerable numbers of unused vaccines. 

“Just as Denmark has regularly donated and lent excess vaccines to other countries, this agreement is also a strong signal of European and international cooperation in the fight against corona,” he said in the statement. 

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Denmark to offer all over-50s autumn Covid-19 vaccine

As many as 2.5 million residents of Denmark, almost half the country’s population, will be offered an new booster vaccination against Covid-19 this autumn.

Denmark to offer all over-50s autumn Covid-19 vaccine

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen presented on Wednesday the national plan for a potential new wave of the coronavirus this autumn and winter.

At a press briefing, Frederiksen said that nursing and care home residents, as well as everyone over the age of 50, would be offered Covid-19 vaccination this autumn.

People who live in care homes and others in vulnerable groups will be offered the vaccine from September 15th, with over-50s invited to be vaccinated from October 1st.

A new round of vaccination is part of a broader strategy to avoid shutting down parts of society due to national Covid-19 outbreaks, as seen in Denmark and the rest of the world in 2020 and 2021.

She said that vaccines were to thank for restrictions in winter 2021-22 being less severe than in the preceding year.

“The most important tool is still the vaccines. They showed their value last winter,” she said.

“But we also know that the protection given by vaccines fall off over time and that health authorities expect a new (Covid-19) wave,” she said.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Omicron subvariant now dominant in Denmark

The director of the Danish Health Authority, Søren Brostrøm, said at the briefing that the decision to offer vaccination to over-50s was based on a “principle of caution”.

The World Health Authority has recommended offering vaccination to people over 60, Brostrøm said.

Danish residents under the age of 50 will be offered a vaccine if they are vulnerable or in risk groups for serious illness with Covid-19.

The vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer will be used in the Danish vaccination programme, as was the case in 2021.

Existing Covid-19 vaccines are known not to protect with high effectiveness against infection with the Omicron variant, but do reduce the severity of illness if it is contracted.

“One of the things we have learned with the new variants Omicron, ed.] is that the vaccines are not particularly good at preventing infection. We’ve learned something here,” Brostrøm said.

But their ability to reduce the severity of disease means that, by vaccinating a large part of the population, Denmark can avoid a “large wave of illness,” he said.