Denmark halts Covid-19 vaccinations
Denmark has become the first country in the world to suspend its Covid-19 vaccination drive, as officials point to increasingly strong immunity among residents.
The Danish Health Authority announced the move earlier this week, saying that due to vaccinations and recovery from natural infection, “total immunity of the population is therefore high,” and that the inoculation program would be wound down over the coming weeks.
“Spring has arrived, vaccine coverage in the Danish population is high, and the epidemic has reversed,” the agency said in a statement. “Therefore, the National Board of Health is now ending the broad vaccination efforts against Covid-19 for this season.”
Those who wish to complete an ongoing round of vaccinations will be able to do so, but the health authority said it would no longer invite residents to make appointments beginning May 15.
However, officials continue to recommend “vaccination for people at particularly increased risk,” who will have access to certain immunization sites that remain open across Denmark, and warn that a new vaccine campaign may be required next fall.
“The Danish Health and Medicines Authority's assessment is that there will probably be a need to vaccinate against Covid-19 again in the autumn,” the statement said, noting that the agency also expects to see “an increase in infection again as we go from autumn to winter.”
Denmark's vaccination campaign was launched in late 2020, and since then the vast majority of its 5.8 million citizens have received at least two doses, according to the government, while 3.6 million have received booster shots.
Copenhagen scrapped most of its pandemic restrictions back in February, arguing the virus no longer posed a serious threat to its healthcare system, and has now become the first nation in the world to suspend its mass vaccination program.
Despite warnings about the fall and winter, senior health official Bolette Soborg voiced optimism, arguing that Denmark is currently “in a good place” and has “control of the epidemic, which seems to be subsiding.”