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Explained: How does Denmark’s voluntary system work for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines?

People in Denmark can register for medical consultation with a view to being given a Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson outside of the country’s national vaccination programme.

Explained: How does Denmark’s voluntary system work for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines?
File photo:Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Earlier in May, health authorities signed an agreement with a private company, Practio, allowing the Covid-19 vaccines from the two companies to be distributed under an informed consent system.

The vaccines from J&J and AstraZeneca have both been from the national vaccination programme because a very small risk of serious side effects combined with the stable situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in Denmark reducing the urgency to use them, health authorities previously said.

People interesting in receiving one of the vaccines must register their interest via Practio’s website.

When registering, you will be asked to provide details including your age and some medical information and asked to give some background as to why you are interested in opting for one of the two vaccines.

You will also be asked which of the two vaccines you would prefer to receive and asked to answer some simple questions on basic information provided during the registration process.

Once you have submitted your registration, you will receive a confirmation email. At a later date, you will be offered an appointment for a video consultation with the doctor.

Following medical consultation with a doctor, which takes around 10 minutes, you may be approved to receive one of the vaccines.

During the consultation, you will be given the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the vaccines and will be given information, including about potential side effects and whether you might be in a higher risk group for them.

Doctors can also give you an idea of how long you will have to wait to be vaccinated under Denmark’s national vaccination programme, and can tell you the relative effectiveness of the different vaccines based on the results of international studies.

If approved, you will be sent an appointment by email immediately following the consultation, but can choose to change the time if you are unable to attend the one you are sent.

The doctor who conducts your consultation can choose not to allow you to proceed with vaccination and instead recommend you wait to be invited for vaccination under the national programme.

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Twenty employees of engineering firm Lowenco, together with their boss Mikael Hoier, on May 23rd became the first people to be given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine under the elective scheme.

Practio’s vaccination centre is located at DGI Byen, close to the Central Station in Copenhagen, but the company plans to also open vaccination centres in Roskilde, Odense, Aarhus and Aalborg. 

People who receive vaccinations under the scheme do not lost their right to claim compensation should they experience side effects.

“Patients and doctors should know that (Denmark’s patient compensation board, Patienterstatningen) covers all serious side effects from approved vaccines. That includes the Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, even though they have been withdrawn from the vaccination programme,” the compensation board’s director Karen-Inger Bast last week told newspaper Politiken.

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COVID-19

Covid deaths in Sweden ‘set to rise in coming weeks’

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has warned that the number of weekly Covid deaths is set to rise, after the number of people testing positive for the virus rose for the sixth week running.

Covid deaths in Sweden 'set to rise in coming weeks'

According to the agency, an average of 27 people have died with or from the virus a week over the past three weeks. 

“According to our analyses, the number who died in week 27 (July 4th-July 11th), is more than died in week 26 and we expect this to continue to grow,” the agency wrote in a report issued on Thursday. 

In the week ending July 17th (week 28), 4,700 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, a 22 percent rise on the previous week. 

“We are seeing rising infection levels of Covid-19 which means that there will be more people admitted to hospital, and even more who die with Covid-19,”  said Anneli Carlander, a unit chief at the agency. “The levels we are seeing now are higher than they were last summer, but we haven’t reached the same level we saw last winter when omicron was spreading for the first time.” 

While 27 deaths a week with for from Covid-19 is a rise on the low levels seen this spring, it is well below the peak death rate Sweden saw in April 2020, when more than 100 people were dying a day. 

The number of Covid deaths recorded each week this summer. Source. Public Health Agency of Sweden
A graph of Covid deaths per day since the start of the pandemic shows that the current death rate, while alarming, remains low. Photo: Public Health Agency of Sweden

Carlander said that cases were rising among those in sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and also elderly people given support in their own homes, groups which are recommended to get tested for the virus if they display symptoms. The infection rate among those given support in their homes has risen 40 percent on last week. 

This week there were also 12 new patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 in Sweden’s hospitals.  

The increase has come due to the new BA.5 variant of omicron, which is better able to infect people who have been vaccinated or already fallen ill with Covid-19. Vaccination or a past infection does, however, give protection against serious illness and death. 

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