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HEALTH

Over 1.5 million Danes vaccinated against influenza and Covid-19 during late 2022

Denmark’s winter influenza vaccination campaign has seen a high level of uptake with over 1.5 million people receiving Covid-19 and influenza vaccines.

Over 1.5 million Danes vaccinated against influenza and Covid-19 during late 2022
People at a vaccination centre in Aalborg in 2021. The Danish Health Authority says it is pleased with Covid-19 and influenza vaccine uptake this autumn. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The vaccination figures were released by the Danish Health Authority three months into the winter vaccination programme, which began in September.

Around 1.9 million people have received a Covid-19 vaccination since September 15th, with 1.6 million vaccinated against influenza.

The demographic to receive the highest number of vaccinations is senior citizens.

Around 89 percent of people over the age of 85 have been vaccinated with a Covid-19 booster jab, according to the Health Authority figures. Some 80 percent have been vaccinated against influenza.

“We are naturally pleased about the high uptake for this autumn’s vaccinations,” Danish Health Authority deputy director Steen Dalsgård Jespersen said.

“That means that there is a general understanding by the public for our recommendation to accept the offer of vaccination. And that we have been successful overall with our vaccine effort,” he said.

A high proportion of people in other age groups eligible for the vaccine also chose to receive it, according to the health authority.

Some 77 percent of people between the ages of 50 and 84 received the Covid-19 booster. For influenza, the percentage is 80 percent.

Denmark has one of the highest vaccination rates for Covid-19 in the Nordic region as well as in Europe, according to the Danish Health Authority.

Despite the vaccination programme, and with isolation requirements for Covid-19 now dropped, infection numbers are expected to increase this winter.

“We therefore recommend everyone is in the target group for a vaccine who has not yet accepted the offer to make sure they do so in good time and therefore within the next couple of weeks,” Jespersen said.

Under Denmark’s vaccination programme for Covid-19, all people over the age of 50 are offered a booster or “fourth dose” of the vaccine this winter.

People under 50 can also be offered vaccination if they are in risk groups for serious illness.

Those not eligible for the booster can still receive one under a paid scheme.

Several groups are also eligible for free influenza vaccination.

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HEALTH

How serious is Danish recall of antibiotic medicine?

The Danish Medicines Agency, Lægemiddelstyrelsen, recently recalled antibiotic medicine Dicillin.

How serious is Danish recall of antibiotic medicine?

The medicines authority said on Monday that persons using the antibiotic medicine Dicillin, produced by Sandoz, should return it to pharmacies to be replaced.

That came after multi-resistant bacteria known as CPO were detected in nine cases in patients who have taken the antibiotic.

The nine cases were detected over a four-month period.

READ ALSO: Danish medicines authority recalls antibiotic used by 35,000 people

The researcher who detected the issue with the antibiotic said in an interview with news wire Ritzau that he was very surprised when it first became apparent.

“We couldn’t believe it. What we had feared was actually the case,” senior physician and professor Ulrik Stenz Justesen of Odense University Hospital’s clinical microbiology department told Ritzau.

“I’ve been in this game for quite a few years now and I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” he said.

Around 35,000 people in Denmark were prescribed the antibiotic between September and December last year, according to the Danish Patient Data Authority (Sundhedsdatastyrelsen).

The actual number of people who are using the medicine could be larger than this because it may have been sold after that period, Ritzau writes.

Multi-resistant bacteria are resistant to treatment with several types of antibiotic.

CPO or carbapenemase-producing organisms are a group of bacteria that are resistant to several different types of antibiotics. They can be difficult to treat, according to information from the Danish Health Authority.

The risk of becoming seriously ill due to CPO is low for a healthy person, but people who are already ill or vulnerable can be at increased risk.

Infection with multiresistant bacteria can also mean all future hospital treatments for the affected person must be given in isolated rooms, so the bacteria are not passed on to other patients.

That could have serious consequences at Danish hospitals where capacity is already under strain, according to Justesen.

“That would increase the strain on a health system that is already severely strained,” he said.

Medicines of this type are produced under highly controlled conditions, which makes the discovery even more extraordinary, he explained.

“We don’t study medicines daily to see whether there are bacteria in them. But this is a bacteria that behaves so strangely that we immediately notice it,” he said.

Although the detection of the bacteria is concerning, the professor in microbiology said finding it was also reassuring in some way.

“We were also relieved that we could do something about it and get it stopped so we didn’t have to look around for many months for a source and know it was spreading in the community,” he said.

Manufacturer Sandoz has recalled all Dicillin packets and patients have been advised to return it to pharmacies to be replaced. Patients do not need to obtain a new prescription from their doctor.

“It’s important that you don’t stop your treatment if you are taking antibiotics. So patients to take 500mg Dicillin from Sandoz should go to their pharmacy to get a different, equivalent preparation,” the Danish Medicines Agency said in Monday’s statement.

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