Denmark pushes back target for full vaccination by one more week

Denmark yet again changed its target date for when all residents over the age of 16 will be vaccinated, pushing it back a week until August 29th. But not everyone will see delays.

Denmark pushes back target for full vaccination by one more week
A testing centre for the CureVac vaccine back in March last year. The vaccine has still not been approaved by Denmark's regulators. Photo: Yves Herman/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

According to the new vaccine calendar, released on Monday, Denmark now expects 1.2m fewer doses to arrive between June 7th and August 22nd, due to delays around the CureVac vaccine.

“The date when we expect to have finished the vaccinations has been delayed to August 29th”, Søren Bostrøm, director of the Danish Health Authority.  “We are now pushing on with the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, and then we will also use CureVac when it is approved.” 

In a statement , the authority said that the German vaccine was now “not expected to become part of the Danish vaccination program until the summer, if it is approved for use.” 

At the same time, Denmark expects to start vaccinating those in the 55 to 59-year-old age bracket earlier than expected, due to good progress vaccinating 60 to 64-year-olds, with the first people in their late 50s getting a jab by the end of this week.

Although the date 30 to 34-year-old can expect their first jab has been pushed back by two weeks, the date when they will be fully vaccinated has only been pushed back by one week. 

“The planned interval between the first and second jabs for the last target groups can be adjusted to a shorter interval to ensure greater immunity more rapidly,” the authority explained.

Denmark’s health minister Magnus Heunicke was upbeat at the press conference, despite the new delay, saying that now 31 percent of Danes over the age of 16 have had at least the first jab and 17.9 percent both jabs, the impact on the rate of hospitalisation and death was getting more pronounced. 

“Right now, there are more people in hospital in the 30 to 39-year-old age bracket than those over 80 years old. And that is good, as the younger groups also have a significantly better chance of recovery,” he said, according to Danish state broadcaster DR

Henrik Ullum, from Denmark’s state infectious disease agency SSI, said that young people now dominated among those testing positive. 

“The infection is greatest among the young and younger adults,” he said. “These are groups that see each other a lot, and the infection also reflects our reopening of educational institutions.” 

Brostrøm warned young people that they needed to be especially careful to avoid spreading the virus. 

“In the days to come, the predominance of the young among infected people will naturally increase, in that they will not have yet been vaccinated,” he said. “And they still have a responsibility to prevent infection. You can also become seriously ill as a young person, and you can have very extremely troublesome long-term effects,” he said.

Who will see their first jab delayed a week? 

Citizens aged 16-19 years (now fully vaccinated mid-July) 

Citizens aged 20-24 years (now fully vaccinated end of first week in August) 

Citizens aged 25-29 years (now fully vaccinated end of August) 

Citizens aged 35-39 years (now fully vaccinated end of August) 

Citizens aged 40-44 years (now fully vaccinated end of first week in August) 

Citizens aged 45-49 years (now fully vaccinated mid-July) 

Who will see their first jab delayed two weeks? 

Citizens aged 30-34 years (now fully vaccinated end of August).  

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”