Maersk to require office staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 

Danish transport giant Maersk is to introduce a requirement for its staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to be able to work from the company's offices, according to a Danish media report.

Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen. The Danish shipping company says it will require staff working at its offices to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen. The Danish shipping company says it will require staff working at its offices to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Maersk CEO Søren Skou told newspaper Berlingske that Maersk will introduce the requirement “within the next three months”.

The firm is the first major Danish company to apply such a rule relating to vaccination against the coronavirus. It will also apply the policy in some of its offices in other countries but will exempt those where vaccine supply is short, according to the report.

“We have to make it as difficult as possible for those who are not vaccinated and require tests all the time. But we can’t make a global rule on this,” Skou told Berlingske.

The company, Denmark’s largest, decided to implement the requirement because the effectiveness and safety of the Covid-19 vaccines is now well known, according to Skou.

The CEO also said that Maersk would be keen to help in locations where it is harder to get staff to accept vaccination.

The decision will be implemented in compliance with local laws and trade union agreements, Maersk said in a statement given to Berlingske.

The company has over 80,000 staff in 130 countries according to its website.

Danish engineers’ trade union IDA said it does not support companies requiring on-site staff to be vaccinated.

“It’s not reasonable to demand you must be vaccinated to be able to come to work. It’s reasonable to demand you are healthy,” IDA’s chairperson Thomas Damkjær Petersen told news wire Ritzau.

“Therefore, our recommendation is that you look after yourself and your colleagues.

“And if you have symptoms of corona, you should stay home and get tested,” Petersen added.

Another trade union, Djøf, also told Ritzau it could “not accept either a test or vaccination requirement” for members and noted that Denmark does not have a law which enables employers to demand staff are vaccinated.

READ ALSO: Denmark records highest number of daily Covid-19 infections this year

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Covid-19 medicine Paxlovid now available in Denmark

Denmark has received its first supply of Paxlovid, an antiviral treatment for Covid-19.

Covid-19 medicine Paxlovid now available in Denmark

A first stock of Paxlovid, a tablet which can be described by doctors to combat Covid-19 symptoms, has been delivered to Denmark, health authorities confirmed in a statement.

“The first delivery has arrived today and the rest will be delivered continuously during the coming period,” the Danish Health Authority said.

Denmark has purchased 40,000 treatment courses of the medicine.

Doctors decide when to prescribe the medicine, which is suitable for adults infected with Covid-19 who are at risk of serious illness with Covid-19. It is taken over a course of five days when symptoms are still mild.

“Treatment with Paxlovid is for the patients who are at greatest risk of serious illness with Covid-19 and the treatment will be an important part of the future management of Covid-19,” the Health Authority said in the statement.

The arrival of a medicine for Covid-19 does not signal the end of vaccination which remains “the most effective measure to prevent serious illness and death,” it said.

Denmark has purchased the Paxlovid supply through a deal with pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute (SSI) has 2.2 million Covid-19 vaccines which have been in storage for so long that they are no longer usable, news wire Ritzau earlier reported.

The vaccines were purchased when Denmark was acquiring as many as possible during the pandemic but because they are not effective against newer variants of the coronavirus, they can no longer be used.

Another 3.6 million doses in storage at SSI can only be used for the initial two doses for as-yet unvaccinated people – who are now limited in number given Denmark’s high vaccine uptake. This means they are unusable in the current booster programme.

The cost of the 5.8 million vaccines is estimated at between 116 and 783 million kroner.