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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Covid-19: Denmark expects to bring updated jab into vaccination programme

An updated version of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, tabled by the European Medical Agency (EMA) for EU approval, is likely to be used in Denmark.

Covid-19: Denmark expects to bring updated jab into vaccination programme

The Danish Health Authority said that it expects the vaccine, which has been updated to protect against the currently dominant variant of the coronavirus, will be used in the autumn vaccination programme.

“We now have several variant-updated vaccines which we expect to give both better and broader protection against serious illness and death,” the deputy director of the Danish Health Auhtority, Helene Bilsted Probst, said in a press statement.

“We expect that the updated vaccine will give at least as good protection as the already-approved BA1-updated vaccine, and it could possibly be a little better,” she said.

The Health Authority is expected to make a decision in the near future on how doses of the latest update will be integrated into the existing vaccine programme.

Denmark’s autumn Covid-19 vaccination programme is scheduled to begin on September 15th, when care home residents and people aged 85 and over will be invited for a booster vaccine.

From October 1st, everyone aged 50 and over will be offered vaccination.

“Everyone who will be vaccinated in the autumn vaccination programme will be vaccinated with the variant-updated vaccine, and we will continuously assess how best to use it,” Probst said in the statement.

Other groups for which vaccination is recommended include those who are pregnant, work in the health and elderly care sectors, or are at heightened risk of serious illness.

Denmark took delivery of 720,000 Pfizer vaccines late last week and has secured a total of 4.5 million doses that will be delivered this month.

Probst stated that timely vaccination was important in reducing the likelihood of serious illness.

“So we need to get started so we can keep ahead of the virus,” she said.