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Denmark to take delivery of millions of withdrawn Covid-19 vaccines

Seven million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson are expected to be delivered to Denmark, despite the country having long since withdrawn the vaccine from its national inoculation programme.

Denmark to take delivery of millions of withdrawn Covid-19 vaccines
File photo: Gaelen Morse/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The new deliveries were reported by broadcaster TV2 on Tuesday.

Denmark already has around 600,000 doses of the J&J vaccine in storage, having decided earlier this year to withdraw it from its mainstream vaccination programme due to concerns over rare but serious side effects.

Last week, health authorities said they would sell 100,000 doses to private companies, who could use them to offer private, paid vaccination in Denmark, including to people visiting the country.

But “no decision has been made” as to the remaining 500,000 doses, according to information provided by the Ministry of Health to TV2.

The broadcaster also reports that the national infectious disease agency, State Serum Institute confirmed that Denmark is obliged to accept delivery of the vaccines.

Once they are in Denmark, the vaccines are difficult to donate to other countries via the Covax scheme, setup to promote Covid-19 vaccine equity.

That is because Covax generally only supplies vaccines directly from producers to the country which will be using them.

Danish politicians have called for the vaccines to be delivered to countries behind Denmark on vaccine distribution.

“There is absolutely no need to (take the vaccines) because we don’t need (them). We have to stop this,” Conservative party health spokesperson Per Larsen told TV2.

Just under 50,000 people in Denmark have been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however. This was through a now-closed opt-in scheme set up following the withdrawal of J&J from the main vaccination programme.

According to TV2, people who received the J&J vaccine are likely to be offered a booster from Pfizer or Moderna.

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Denmark suspends national Covid-19 vaccination programme

Denmark, which in February lifted all curbs related to the coronavirus pandemic, said on Tuesday it was suspending its general Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Denmark suspends national Covid-19 vaccination programme

Noting that the epidemic was under control and that vaccination levels were high, the Danish Health Authority said the country was in a “good position.”

“Therefore we are winding down the mass vaccination program against Covid-19,” said Bolette Søborg, director of the authority’s department of infectious diseases.

Around 81 percent of Denmark’s 5.8 million inhabitants have received two doses of the vaccine and 61.6 percent have also received a booster.

Denmark noted a drop in the number of new infections and stable hospitalisation rates.

While invitations for vaccinations would no longer be issued after May 15th, health officials anticipate that vaccinations would resume after the summer.

“We plan to reopen the vaccination programme in the autumn. This will be preceded by a thorough professional assessment of who and when to vaccinate and with which vaccines,” Søborg said.

As a wave of the Omicron variant hit the country last November, Denmark intensified its immunisation campaign, accelerating access to booster shots and offering a fourth dose from mid-January to the most vulnerable.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Denmark registers under 1,000 cases in a day for first time in 2022

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