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COVID-19 VACCINES

Denmark reconsiders Covid-19 vaccination recommendation for children

The Danish Health Authority is considering whether to continue vaccinating children aged 5-11 against Covid-19, according to a report.

Denmark has vaccinated 5-11 year-olds since November 2021, but could change its recommendation due to the milder Omicron variant and forthcoming spring season.
Denmark has vaccinated 5-11 year-olds since November 2021, but could change its recommendation due to the milder Omicron variant and forthcoming spring season. File photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

The health authority’s director Søren Brostrøm told newspaper Politiken there were two reasons for reconsidering the current policy to offer vaccination to children in the age range.

“We are reconsidering the recommendation for two reasons,” Brostrøm said.

“Partly because Omicron is a different thing to Delta and gives fewer hospital admissions. Partly because a change in season is on the way and the infection curve will peak because of high immunity in the community,” he said.

The Danish Health Authority first recommended last November that parents allow children aged 5-11 to be vaccinated against Covid-19, calling for increased immunity in kids.

Brostrøm said he had “never been in doubt” that that was the correct decision at the time.

“Transmissions were occurring particularly in that age group, which was moving the virus on to parents and grandparents who could have got seriously ill from the Delta variant,” he said.

“Children have contributed with a few percentage points to immunity in the community, which is the reason that Covid-19 is no longer a critical threat to society,” he told Politiken.

While Denmark currently recommends vaccination of 5-11 year-olds against Covid, neighbouring Sweden and Norway do not vaccinate the same age group.

Neither country has a general recommendation in place for Covid-19 vaccination in 5-11 year-olds.

In Denmark, 41.8 percent of children aged 5 to 11 have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 31.9 percent are fully vaccinated.

When it introduced the recommendation in November, the Danish Health Authority hoped to vaccinate 70 percent of the age group.

Brostrøm also said in the interview with Politiken that it is “most probable” that parts or all of the Danish population will be offered a variant-focused vaccine again this autumn.

That would be to guard against future waves of the virus driven by colder weather.

“I have begun to prepare myself for a possible scenario in which Covid-19 becomes a winter sickness that, like influenza, returns year after year and where updated vaccines are developed every year,” he said.

“Because we are not going to eradicate Covid-19. It mutates and jumps between animals and humans like influenza does,” he said.

READ ALSO: Denmark returns to ‘life as we knew it’ as Covid-19 restrictions end despite Omicron

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COVID-19 VACCINES

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.

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