Denmark pauses Covid vaccination programme as health chiefs say virus is under control

Customers at the fish market in Torvehallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Credit: AP

Denmark is believed to have become the first country in the world to pause its Covid vaccination rollout as its health authority said the virus is now under control.

Danish health chiefs say the Scandinavian country's general vaccination programme for the spring and summer is to close, meaning no new jab invitations are being sent out.

The rollout is being wound down from May 15, according to the Danish Health Authority (DHA), as so many people have been inoculated against the virus, with new infections falling.

It is, however, still possible to receive a fourth dose or a second booster for people with certain medical conditions, or to receive a jab to start or finish a vaccination programme.

About 80% of Denmark's 5.8 million population have had two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, and around 62% have received a booster jab.

"We are in a good place. Spring has arrived and we have good control of the epidemic, which seems to be subsiding," Bolette Soborg, the authority's infectious diseases director, said.

"Admission rates are stable and we also expect them to fall soon."

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Health officials anticipate a resumption of the vaccination programme after the summer when "a new Covid-19 season is expected to begin in the autumn".

The DHA added that it will continue to recommend jabs to some vulnerable groups, such as unvaccinated pregnant women.

In January, the Danish government said it was offering a fourth vaccine dose to older adults and other vulnerable citizens amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

But a Health Authority assessment concluded that three shots had provided good protection to nursing home residents and people aged 85 and over.

The agency therefore decided it was unnecessary to provide them with additional shots.

Denmark scrapped most of its pandemic curbs- including the wearing of face masks- in February after officials said they no longer considered Covid “a socially critical disease.”