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Denmark to take delivery of millions of withdrawn Covid-19 vaccines

Seven million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson are expected to be delivered to Denmark, despite the country having long since withdrawn the vaccine from its national inoculation programme.

Denmark to take delivery of millions of withdrawn Covid-19 vaccines
File photo: Gaelen Morse/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The new deliveries were reported by broadcaster TV2 on Tuesday.

Denmark already has around 600,000 doses of the J&J vaccine in storage, having decided earlier this year to withdraw it from its mainstream vaccination programme due to concerns over rare but serious side effects.

Last week, health authorities said they would sell 100,000 doses to private companies, who could use them to offer private, paid vaccination in Denmark, including to people visiting the country.

But “no decision has been made” as to the remaining 500,000 doses, according to information provided by the Ministry of Health to TV2.

The broadcaster also reports that the national infectious disease agency, State Serum Institute confirmed that Denmark is obliged to accept delivery of the vaccines.

Once they are in Denmark, the vaccines are difficult to donate to other countries via the Covax scheme, setup to promote Covid-19 vaccine equity.

That is because Covax generally only supplies vaccines directly from producers to the country which will be using them.

Danish politicians have called for the vaccines to be delivered to countries behind Denmark on vaccine distribution.

“There is absolutely no need to (take the vaccines) because we don’t need (them). We have to stop this,” Conservative party health spokesperson Per Larsen told TV2.

Just under 50,000 people in Denmark have been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however. This was through a now-closed opt-in scheme set up following the withdrawal of J&J from the main vaccination programme.

According to TV2, people who received the J&J vaccine are likely to be offered a booster from Pfizer or Moderna.

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Covid-19: Denmark decides against additional booster this winter

No additional booster vaccination against Covid-19 will be offered this winter, the Danish Health Authority confirmed on Wednesday.

Covid-19: Denmark decides against additional booster this winter

Together with an expert advisory group, the Health Authority has considered whether to offer vulnerable groups an extra booster vaccination against Covid-19 this winter.

People at higher risk of serious illness with the virus including those over the age of 85 will not be offered a further booster this winter, the authority has decided.

Denmark offered a booster in autumn 2022 to all people over the age of 50 and younger people considered vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The booster was backed up by data suggesting it improves protection against hospitalisation with Covid-19 by 74 percent, according to the Danish Health Authority.

READ ALSO: Danish research finds improved protection from updated Covid-19 vaccine

Infection numbers in Denmark are currently low.

“We have the highest vaccine uptake in Europe and the vaccines have proved to be effective, including for the elderly and most vulnerable. We are in a good place in the Covid-19 epidemic. We can only be pleased about this,” head of section and consultant physician Kirstine Moll Harboe said in the statement.

The health authority nevertheless expects immunity and effectiveness of vaccines to fall over time and will therefore develop a plan for a new booster vaccination campaign to take place in the autumn.

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