Covid-19: why Denmark is about to give up vaccination


FOCUS- After deciding to lift most restrictions, the Scandinavian country could completely abandon its vaccination program by the end of February.

This is one more step in the desire to “living with the virus“. Since 1er February, Denmark made the choice, like the United Kingdom, to take a gamble on a returnto life before“, by drawing a line under the masks and the sanitary pass, by reopening nightclubs, bars and restaurants without restriction, despite a record number of cases. If there remainsrecommended» to isolate themselves for four days in the event of a positive test, contact cases are no longer forced into any quarantine. But since Friday February 11, the Scandinavian country has gone even further. In a statement that went relatively unnoticed by us, he sketched out what looks like an outright abandonment of short-term vaccination. A world first since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thus, the Danish government initially announced that it would no longer offer additional doses of vaccines to its population. The elderly or at risk will not receive the fourth and those under 18 will do without the third. But above all, the vaccination program could be completely suspended “no later than spring“. “The National Health Council will closely monitor the evolution of the epidemic in the coming weeks, and we hope to be able to announce the closing dates for the vaccination program at the end of February.“, thus indicates the press release.

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Immunity deemed sufficient

The Danish authorities justify this decision on the basis of several criteria. First, a vaccination rate that they consider sufficient. According to figures from the Statens Serum Institut, an infectious disease research institute, cited by the newspaper politics , 80.9% of the 5.8 million Danes were vaccinated by February 11, including 61.4% with a booster dose. One of the best rates in Europe, according to data from Our World in Data, only surpassed by Portugal. For comparison, 79% of the French population is currently vaccinated, including 55% with the third dose, according to figures from the Ministry of Health. “In Denmark we have a very high level of vaccination“, thus welcomes the government in its press release, which evokes a “very high protective immunity” Population.

Yet, by the government’s own admission, Denmark has a very high, and still rising, proportion of daily cases. With nearly 8,000 cases per million inhabitants, on average over seven days to February 13, the country is, for example, well ahead of France in this area (just over 2,000 cases per million inhabitants). Corn “we can see the first signs that the epidemic is reversing“, underlines the government. Moreover, Danish hospitals are not on alert. According to data from Our World in Data, the country received 4 critical care patients per million inhabitants as of February 13.

Hospital admissions, on the other hand, have been rising steadily since the beginning of October. Nothing to worry about however for the Danish authorities, who highlight the low dangerousness of Omicron, but also the coming spring. “We know from experience that the number of infections decreases with the change of season“, justifies the press release.

“Lesser effect” of vaccination with Omicron

The government returns to the uselessness, according to him, of the third dose for the youngest and the fourth for the oldest. “The National Health Council has previously assessed that nursing home residents and people over 85 are well protected with a third dose“, specifies the press release. “As we see the epidemic dying out, and because the season will soon change, it is not useful to offer a fourth dose“, abounds the chief medical officer of Denmark, Bolette Søborg.

For Danes under the age of 18, the National Board of Health estimates that this age group “already has high immunity and is at low risk of contracting a severe form of Covid-19 with Omicron“. If the authorities recognize the effectiveness of vaccination with the Delta variant for 5-11 year olds, and welcome its success (half of this age category has been vaccinated), they now believe that it has now “less effect with Omicron“.

Based on all these elements, the Danish government could therefore be the first to close its vaccination program, and this as early as spring. A timetable should be announced in this regard at the end of February. But the Scandinavian country nevertheless remains cautious. “We will of course follow the epidemic assiduously, and we are ready to reconsider this decision if, contrary to our expectations, a fourth spring wave or new worrying variants hit our country.summed up Bolette Søborg.

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