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COVID-19 RULES

Denmark to offer all over-50s autumn Covid-19 vaccine

As many as 2.5 million residents of Denmark, almost half the country’s population, will be offered an new booster vaccination against Covid-19 this autumn.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior Danish health officials
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior Danish health officials present the national strategy for a likely wave of Covid-19 infections in autumn and winter 2022. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen presented on Wednesday the national plan for a potential new wave of the coronavirus this autumn and winter.

At a press briefing, Frederiksen said that nursing and care home residents, as well as everyone over the age of 50, would be offered Covid-19 vaccination this autumn.

People who live in care homes and others in vulnerable groups will be offered the vaccine from September 15th, with over-50s invited to be vaccinated from October 1st.

A new round of vaccination is part of a broader strategy to avoid shutting down parts of society due to national Covid-19 outbreaks, as seen in Denmark and the rest of the world in 2020 and 2021.

She said that vaccines were to thank for restrictions in winter 2021-22 being less severe than in the preceding year.

“The most important tool is still the vaccines. They showed their value last winter,” she said.

“But we also know that the protection given by vaccines fall off over time and that health authorities expect a new (Covid-19) wave,” she said.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Omicron subvariant now dominant in Denmark

The director of the Danish Health Authority, Søren Brostrøm, said at the briefing that the decision to offer vaccination to over-50s was based on a “principle of caution”.

The World Health Authority has recommended offering vaccination to people over 60, Brostrøm said.

Danish residents under the age of 50 will be offered a vaccine if they are vulnerable or in risk groups for serious illness with Covid-19.

The vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer will be used in the Danish vaccination programme, as was the case in 2021.

Existing Covid-19 vaccines are known not to protect with high effectiveness against infection with the Omicron variant, but do reduce the severity of illness if it is contracted.

“One of the things we have learned with the new variants Omicron, ed.] is that the vaccines are not particularly good at preventing infection. We’ve learned something here,” Brostrøm said.

But their ability to reduce the severity of disease means that, by vaccinating a large part of the population, Denmark can avoid a “large wave of illness,” he said.

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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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