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COVID-19 VACCINES

‘Not scared’: Danish children line up for Covid jabs

Waiting for his first Covid jab at a vaccination centre in a suburb of Denmark's capital, seven-year-old William shows off to his little brother.

Vaccination is administered to the arm of a child.
Denmark was one of the first European countries to open vaccination to all over-fives on November 26th. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

“I’m not scared, I’ve already done it 100 times,” he says, while around him nurses reassure children who have come to be inoculated against the coronavirus.

Inside a converted commercial warehouse in Taastrup, one young patient struts around the waiting room confidently, while another clutches a comforter, looking anxious.

Denmark was one of the first European countries to open vaccination to all over-fives on November 26th, though it is not compulsory.

Twenty percent of children born between 2010 and 2016 have already received a first dose in the Scandinavian country of 5.8 million inhabitants.

Samuel Christiansen, 8, says he has come to boost his immune system after a first bout of Covid-19, especially now the Omicron strain is spreading.

“I don’t really want to be sick” again with Omicron, he says.

His father, Henrik Jansen, says the family is there to “protect the elderly, the older members of the family, Granny and Grandad”.

The EU’s medicines watchdog last month approved the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for five- to 11-year-olds, an age group experiencing high coronavirus infection rates across Europe.

Austria has also started offering jabs to its under-fives, while Portugal started on Saturday, and France is to begin next week.

Helene Probst, the joint head of Denmark’s national health agency, said the campaign was going well.

In the fifth wave of the virus, “the most important tool is still vaccines, even in the fight against Omicron,” she said.

The Scandinavian country has said it will close cinemas, theatres and concert halls and restrict restaurant opening hours from Sunday over a record number of daily Covid-19 cases in recent days.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Friday said people should limit their social contacts.

Fayrouz Ben Alaya said she did not hesitate to vaccinate her eight-year-old daughter, Camelia Fourati.

“I didn’t do it for her, but to lay down one more stone to stem the spread of the virus,” said the worker in the pharmaceutical sector.

Camelia was more than happy to get the jab.

“Everybody is the family was vaccinated, I was the last one,” she said.

“I’m happy I did it because now, if I get corona, I won’t feel anything.”

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Recent Covid-19 booster jab offers good protection: Danish agency

The number of new registered cases of Covid-19 in Denmark is currently declining despite the cold weather providing more favourable conditions for the virus.

Recent Covid-19 booster jab offers good protection: Danish agency

A weekly trend report from the national infectious disease control agency, State Serum Institute (SSI) shows that 3,781 people returned positive PCR tests for the coronavirus last week, compared to 4,247 the preceding week.

It should be noted that Denmark does not generally advise Covid-19 tests for those not at risk of severe illness from the virus.

READ ALSO: What is Denmark’s Covid-19 testing strategy for the winter?

Going further back, the number has almost halved, with 9,015 positive PCR tests registered during the week beginning October 10th.

The number of people with Covid-19 newly admitted to hospitals has also fallen, from 275 two weeks ago to 245 last week.

SSI has begun to include vaccine effectiveness as a new parameter in its weekly trend report.

According to the agency, people who have recently received a booster against Covid-19 are better protected against the virus than those who have not received a booster.

“Our analyses of the effect of the booster show that persons who received the fourth dose [second booster, ed.] prior to September 15th are well protected against hospital admission as a result of Covid-19,” SSI senior medical consultant Bolette Søborg said in a statement on the agency’s website.

The latest booster provides “around 75 percent better” protection against hospital admission compared to people who have received three doses,” she said.

READ ALSO: Can you get a Covid-19 booster in Denmark if you are not in a risk group?

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