New Year’s Eve injury rate bounces back to normal in Denmark

The number of people treated for fireworks-related injuries on New Year's Eve in Denmark has bounced back to normal levels, with 16 people treated for eye injuries after the celebrations.

New Year's Eve injury rate bounces back to normal in Denmark
Fireworks led to 16 eye injuries on New Year's Eve. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

This is up from the unusually low 12 people who were treated for eye injuries during and after the celebrations last year. Two of this year’s injuries are sufficiently severe that the injured are expected to lose their sight completely or partially.

“After a very quiet evening last year, it is back to a normal, average level,” Ulrik Correll Christensen, head doctor at the ophthalmology department at Rigshospitalet, told the country’s Ritzau newswire. “It is a completely extraordinary situation at the eye departments on New Year’s Eve. It is not at all something we see on a daily basis.” 

Christensen has tallied up reports from all of Denmark’s eye units, including the major ones in Copenhagen, Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and Næstved. 

He said that 15 out of the 16 cases had not worn safety goggles, two thirds were between ten and thirty years old. 

“The most important thing is to follow the advice when firing fireworks. Wear safety goggles and keep a good distance,” he said. 

The number of ambulance call outs on New Year’s Eve is also back to normal, with 1,188 emergency vehicles sent out, compared to 875 last year. 

In the Capital Region of Copenhagen, there were 44 call-outs were related to fireworks, of which 16 were for hand injuries and 14 for eye injuries. 

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How to get the flu vaccine in Denmark and who is eligible

The Danish Health Authority has urged members of the public in eligible groups to get vaccinated against influenza as the first cases of the winter are registered in the country.

The Danish Health Authority has urged more of the public to get vaccinated against influenza to ease expected strain onhealth services.
The Danish Health Authority has urged more of the public to get vaccinated against influenza to ease expected strain onhealth services. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The health authority underlined in a statement on its website the availability of free flu jabs, which have been offered for the last month.

Around a million people in the country have already got the influenza vaccine, primarily elderly citizens and care home residents.

But other eligible groups, including people with chronic illnesses, children aged 2-6 years and others in vulnerable groups, are yet to take the jab.

“We want as many people as possible to be vaccinated before the influenza season really takes off,” Danish Health Authority senior medical consultant and head of section Bolette Søborg said in the statement.

“We are heading into a winter in which we are very concerned that many will get sick – some seriously sick – due to the circulating infections,” Søborg added.

Keeping to a minimum the number of people who get sick with influenza can help to relieve pressure on the health system in a period when it is expected to come under pressure, she said.

She also noted that it is fine to be vaccinated against influenza if you have also recently been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Who is eligible for the influenza vaccination?

In a deviation from normal circumstances, Denmark this year recommends the influenza vaccine to children aged 2-6 years.

The decision was made to help protect children and their families, including siblings and vulnerable relatives, from the flu virus.

Influenza is commonly spread by children, according to the Danish Health Authority.

In addition to young children, the health authority recommends influenza vaccination for people aged 65 or over on January 15th 2022; people with chronic diseases, people with a BMI over 35; people who have taken early retirement for health reasons (førtidspensionister); people who have suppressed immunity and others in their households; pregnant women in the second and third trimesters; health and care sector staff; and other children and adults deemed by their GP to be at risk from influenza.

Where do I go to get the flu jab?

Children aged 2-6 years old can be vaccinated at their GP’s clinic. Parents are advised to contact their GPs or check practice websites for information.

All other eligible groups can also be vaccinated at their GP’s clinic, as well as at pharmacies and vaccination centres in some locations. In some cases, the vaccination may be offered at places of work.

Local authorities should be contacted for details of vaccination options locally.

Last year’s influenza season resulted in an unusually low number of cases because of social restrictions in effect to restrict the spread of Covid-19. A relatively severe influenza season is therefore expected in 2021-22.

Official information on the influenza vaccine can be found via the website.

READ ALSO: Denmark to introduce Covid-19 self-testing for care sector staff