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.
Så har vi underskriften i hus: Danmark køber 1,17 million Pfizer-BioNTech-vacciner af gode samarbejdspartnere i Rumænien, der ikke kan nå at bruge dem selv. Vi fragter dem til DK med fly hurtigst muligt. Ny vaccinationskalender på vej! #COVID19dk
— Magnus Heunicke (@Heunicke) June 29, 2021
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.
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.