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
Denmark is expected to integrate an updated version of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine into its national booster programme. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

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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Danish Medicines Agency declares Covid-19 vaccine batch fit for use

The Danish Medicines Agency has rescinded a temporary suspension on the use of a specific batch of Covid-19 vaccines after small bubbles were observed when they were drawn into syringes.

Danish Medicines Agency declares Covid-19 vaccine batch fit for use

The agency said earlier this week that it had paused use of the batch in cooperation with manufacturer Pfizer after some vaccination centres observed bubbles in the vaccine after drawing it into the syringe prior to administering.

“The conclusion of Pfizer’s investigation is that the formation of small bubbles in the vaccine after drawing into the syringe is a phenomenon which can occur after the vaccine is exposed to pressure or temperature,” the Medicines Agency said in a statement.

This has no effect on quality, effectiveness or safety, it said.

The batch has been declared suitable for immediate use.

READ ALSO: Denmark to offer Covid and influenza booster vaccines to over-65s

People over the age of 65 and those in risk groups for serious illness have been offered booster vaccines against both Covid-19 and influenza since the beginning of October.

Vaccinations can be given at pharmacies and regional vaccination centres and will remain available until January 15th next year.