Denmark has announced that its autumn vaccine campaign includes those over age 50, selected groups at greater risk of serious infection, and healthcare staff and family members of the elderly and risk groups.
It is the first country to announce that booster shots will not be offered to the general population under age 50.
“With the autumn vaccination programme, we aim to prevent serious illness, hospitalisation, and death. The risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 increases with age. Therefore, people who have reached the age of 50 and particularly vulnerable people will be offered vaccination,” the Danish Health Authority stated in its announcement of the vaccination campaign.
It further stated that it expects an increase in infection this autumn and winter and that it is “important that the population remembers the guidance on how to prevent infection, which also applies to a number of other infectious diseases.”
The guidelines included handwashing and staying at home in the case of infection, ventilation of indoor spaces, and social distancing.
The health authority did not offer details on who under 50 would be offered a vaccine but stated that detailed criteria would be announced before the vaccination campaign got underway in mid-September.
It explained that the general population under age 50 would not be offered another vaccination because immunisation rates among this demographic were already high and the campaign was not aimed at preventing infection but at preventing serious illness, hospitalisation, and death.
“The purpose of vaccination is not to prevent infection with COVID-19, and people aged under 50 are therefore currently not being offered booster vaccination,” it stated on its website. “People aged under 50 are generally not at particularly high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19. In addition, younger people under 50 are well protected against becoming severely ill from COVID-19, as a very large number of them have already been vaccinated and have previously been infected with COVID-19, and there is consequently good immunity among this part of the population.”
Denmark ended vaccinations for those under 18 in July of 2022.
The health agency also said that variant-updated mRNA vaccines would be used in the campaign.
Bridget Ryder is Spain-based writer. She has written on politics, environment, and culture for American and international publications. She holds degrees in Spanish and Catholic Studies.