Denmark becomes first country to suspend COVID vaccination programme

Denmark flag on hygienic mask. Masked the man prevent germs. Concept of Tiny Particle protection or virus corona or Covid19.
Denmark has become the first nation to suspend its COVID vaccine programme. (Getty)

Denmark has become the first country to suspend its COVID-19 vaccination programme as health chiefs said the nation is in a "good position" against the virus.

Around 81% of the 5.8 million Danish population have had two jabs and a further 61.6% have had a booster vaccine.

Following high levels of vaccination, a drop in new infections and stabilising hospital rates, the Danish Health Authority has decided to "round off" the national immunisation drive from 15 May.

However, it will continue to recommend vaccination to some at-risk groups.

“Spring has arrived, vaccine coverage in the Danish population is high, and the epidemic has reversed,” health chiefs said in a statement.

“Therefore, the National Board of Health is now ending the broad vaccination efforts against COVID-19 for this season."

Bolette Soborg, Denmark's chief physician, added: "We are winding down the mass vaccination programme against COVID-19.

"We plan to reopen the vaccination programme in the autumn. This will be preceded by a thorough professional assessment of who and when to vaccinate and with which vaccines."

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A health worker administers a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during the pop-up vaccination day observed inside a supermarket in Ishoej, Denmark, September 11, 2021. Claus Bech/ Ritzau Scanpix via REUTERS        ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. DENMARK OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN DENMARK.
Around 81% of the 5.8 million Danish population have had two jabs and a further 61.6% have had a booster vaccine. (Reuters)

Denmark lifted all COVID rules in February after declaring the Omicron variant of the virus "was not threatening to society" and vaccines had proved to be a "super weapon".

It comes as the European Commission said between 60% and 80% of the population of the EU are now estimated to have had COVID-19 at least once.

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With a recent drop in infections and deaths linked to COVID-19, the EU is now shifting away from mass testing and reporting of cases, EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides told a news conference.

While the EU has entered a post-emergency phase in dealing with the pandemic, the Commission has warned countries to be prepared to shift back into emergency mode when fresh COVID surges emerge.

In a document outlining the strategy for the post-emergency phase of the pandemic, Brussels urged governments to continue pushing for the immunisation of the unvaccinated, especially children before the start of the new school term in the autumn.

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Immunisation rates are below 15% among children aged between five and nine, the youngest age group for which COVID-19 vaccines have been authorised in Europe.

That compares to over 70% of teens aged 15 to 17, the document said.

The Commission also said it could back the development of new drugs against COVID-19, especially antivirals that are easier to store and administer.

The EU "will explore possibilities to support projects targeting the development of antivirals", it said.