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VACCINE

Denmark extends Covid-19 vaccination programme by a further four weeks

The date by which Denmark hopes to have completed its Covid-19 vaccination programme has been put back by a further four weeks.

Denmark extends Covid-19 vaccination programme by a further four weeks
Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The change in schedule can be seen on the updated version of the Danish Health Authority’s Covid-19 vaccination calendar, published on Thursday.

In a press statement, the health authority said that the new calendar is a direct consequence of the decision to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Denmark.

The date by Denmark expects to have vaccinated all adults, including second doses, is now August 15th. The country earlier expected to complete vaccines by June 27th, then extended this date to July 18th.

The new completion date “illustrates a worst-case scenario”, the Danish Health Authority said in the statement.

“(The calendar) shows that everyone in Denmark aged 16 or over can be offered the vaccine no later than (the second week of July) and everyone can be fully vaccinated four weeks later,” the authority wrote.

“But it is important to stress that the vaccination plan will look better if we, on re-evaluation in (two weeks’ time) resume the use of AstraZeneca,” it added.

Danish health authorities said Thursday they were temporarily suspending the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine as a precaution after some patients developed blood clots since receiving the jab, one of whom died.

The move comes “following reports of serious cases of blood clots among people vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine”, the Danish Health Authority said in a statement. 

But it cautiously added that “it has not been determined, at the time being, that there is a link between the vaccine and the blood clots”.

Meanwhile on Thursday, the Danish Health Authority also recommended a simplification of the country’s vaccine strategy, according to Ritzau.

Under the recommendation, the country would prioritise vaccinations more closely on age than is the current practice, though people in vulnerable groups would remain highly prioritised as is the case currently.

READ ALSO: Denmark suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccine

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COVID-19

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

Sweden's Public Health Agency is recommending that those above the age of 80 should receive two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, as it shifts towards a longer-term strategy for the virus.

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

In a new recommendation, the agency said that those living in elderly care centres, and those above the age of 80 should from March 1st receive two vaccinations a year, with a six month gap between doses. 

“Elderly people develop a somewhat worse immune defence after vaccination and immunity wanes faster than among young and healthy people,” the agency said. “That means that elderly people have a greater need of booster doses than younger ones. The Swedish Public Health Agency considers, based on the current knowledge, that it will be important even going into the future to have booster doses for the elderly and people in risk groups.” 

READ ALSO: 

People between the ages of 65 and 79 years old and young people with risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, poor kidney function or high blood pressure, are recommended to take one additional dose per year.

The new vaccination recommendation, which will start to apply from March 1st next year, is only for 2023, Johanna Rubin, the investigator in the agency’s vaccination programme unit, explained. 

She said too much was still unclear about how long protection from vaccination lasted to institute a permanent programme.

“This recommendation applies to 2023. There is not really an abundance of data on how long protection lasts after a booster dose, of course, but this is what we can say for now,” she told the TT newswire. 

It was likely, however, that elderly people would end up being given an annual dose to protect them from any new variants, as has long been the case with influenza.

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