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COVID-19 VACCINES

Can you get a Covid-19 booster in Denmark if you are not in a risk group?

People not eligible for Denmark’s national Covid-19 booster vaccine this autumn can still get revaccinated, but will have to cover costs themselves.

Can you get a Covid-19 booster in Denmark if you are not in a risk group?
North Jutland Regional director Mads Duedahl visits a vaccination centre in Aalborg during the winter 2021 vaccination programme. Boosters this winter will be made available at a cost for non-risk groups. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

A new Covid-19 booster jab will be available across Denmark from November 15th, but people outside eligible groups who want to be revaccinated will have to pay for it, the Danish Health Ministry said in a statement.

Denmark will offer bivalent Moderna and Pfizer vaccines (that is, the newer vaccines targeting omicron variants) for sale to vendors including general practitioners and pharmacies.

“Vaccination will [after November 15th] be available for purchase to members of the public from GPs, pharmacies and others who choose to take part in the arrangement,” the ministry said.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Denmark expects to bring updated jab into vaccination programme

While the State Serum Institute will sell the doses to vendors at cost price, it’s up to vendors how much they’ll charge patients for the jab. This also applies with other types of vaccination, specifically vaccination for travel purposes.

“The purchase price for the consumer is set by individual vaccinators, as is the practice with, for example, travel vaccines. The overall price of vaccination may therefore vary,” the ministry said.

The first doses of the Covid-19 booster will be received by vendors on November 14th ahead of a November 15th start date. 

A limit has been placed on the number of vaccines to be released for private sale in order to ensure sufficient supply for at-risk persons.

Denmark’s autumn 2022 Covid-19 vaccination programme began on September 15th, when care home residents and people aged 85 and over were invited for a booster jab.

All people aged 50 and over were offered free vaccination from October 1st.

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.

These groups are not automatically offered a free booster: they receive information from their workplaces or must contact health services independently to check eligibility and arrange a vaccination. This can be done via the vacciner.dk and Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) websites.

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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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