Denmark to offer Covid-19 booster jab to Johnson & Johnson vaccinated

People aged over 65 and those who received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine are amongst those who will soon be offered booster vaccinations in Denmark.

Denmark to offer Covid-19 booster jab to Johnson & Johnson vaccinated
People who were vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in Denmark are to be offered a Pfizer or Moderna shot as a booster jab. Photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Health Authority in a statement on Tuesday set out the national plan for upcoming Covid-19 booster vaccinations.

Four specific groups will be offered a third jab in the coming months, according to the agency.

They are: people over the age of 65, health care personnel, people in high risk groups and those who were vaccinated with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Denmark’s revaccination scheme is already underway, with a majority of care home residents and people with particularly weakened immune systems already given a third jab. People over 85 years old will begin revaccination this week.

The groups named on Tuesday will then be offered boosters.

An exact date for the beginning of this third phase is currently not set, according to the health authority.

“The precise time for when we will begin (revaccinating the third priority group) depends on additional data, in particular in relation to drop-offs in immunity in the groups in question and side effects,” the authority states.

“We are also awaiting EU approval for the use of the vaccines for revaccination of these groups,” the statement also reads.

But revaccination of people who were given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been confirmed and the authority recommends it commence from October 1st.

Revaccination of those previously given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be with one of the mRNA vaccines currently used in Denmark’s mainstream vaccination programme. Those are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Around 46,000 residents of Denmark received the “one-and-done” Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was removed from the mainstream Danish vaccination scheme in early May due to concerns that a rare blood clotting condition might be associated with the jab.

But it was subsequently distributed via an opt-in system run in parallel with the national scheme, offering residents in Denmark a chance to receive the J&J or AstraZeneca vaccines ahead of the rest of their age group in the national scheme. 

The opt-in scheme expired at the beginning of September.

READ ALSO: ‘Everyone in Denmark will have a third vaccine dose’: Health Minister

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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