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COVID-19 VACCINES

Denmark to give booster Covid-19 jab six months after vaccination

People in Denmark are to be offered a third or booster vaccination against Covid-19 six months and two weeks after their first vaccination course was completed. The policy will initially primarily apply to people over the age of 65.

A pop-up Covid-19 vaccination centre in Copenhagen earlier this year. Denmark will offer booster jabs six months after initial vaccinations.
A pop-up Covid-19 vaccination centre in Copenhagen earlier this year. Denmark will offer booster jabs six months after initial vaccinations. Photo: Olafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

From next week, residents of Denmark who were given their second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine six and a half months ago will be offered a booster jab, the Danish Health Authority said in a statement on Friday.

The policy will initially primarily apply to people over the age of 65, but younger people could be encompassed at a later stage, according to information published by the authority.

People aged 65-84 will be the first to be offered a third dose under the policy since this age group was among the first to receive vaccinations against Covid-19 in the late winter and early spring.

The announcement represents the “second phase of the revaccination programme”, the authority said.

People aged 85 and over, those in vulnerable risk groups, health sector workers and the around 50,000 people who were given the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson have already been offered booster vaccinations.

Denmark stated its intention to offer all of the eligible population a booster jab as early as August, while the European Medicines Agency (EMA) advised boosters for the general population last week.

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The first invitations for the third dose will be sent from Monday October 18th.

“We have assessed that persons over 65 years, staff in the health and elderly care sector and people with higher risk should be offered revaccination when it is more than six and a half months since their last vaccination,” Danish Health Authority deputy director Helene Probst said in the statement.

“The timing of revaccination is crucial. We want to begin revaccination before people get seriously ill with Covid-19 and at the same time ensure revaccination is done on a well-supported, knowledge-based foundation,” Probst added.

Revaccination of over 65s is considered by the authority to have “no risk of new serious side effects with a third dose”.

Younger people may, however, experience stronger reactions including “pain at the injection point, mild fever, discomfort and headache,” the authority said in the statement.

“We expect… that the rest of the population will be revaccinated in the longer term. We will follow this area very closely and continually assess whether there’s a medical need to offer revaccination to the rest of the population,” Probst said.

The authority will also monitor “whether the interval between second and third dose should remain at six and a half months, or whether it should be longer,” she added.

The EU earlier in October approved revaccination of people aged 18 and over once six months have passed after the second dose.

That approval currently only applies to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination, but the Moderna jab is expected to be given the same approval in the coming weeks.

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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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