In a statement, the Danish health authority said that the third infection wave there was on a decline due to “large population immunity.” More than 80 percent of the Danish population has received two doses of the vaccine, and 61.3 percent have also had a booster.
The statement read: “The very high vaccine coverage in Denmark, especially with the third shot, means that we can cope with increasing infection without getting serious illness.”
This appears to be a reversal of their position last month, when the government announced that it would be offering a fourth dose to older adults and people who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19 in light of the worsening situation there amid the quick spread of omicron. However, a health authority assessment has since reached the conclusion that three shots were enough to provide adequate protection to nursing home residents and elderly people over the age of 85 and that it is therefore not necessary to administer additional doses.
Another reason that fourth doses seem less urgent now is the fact that winter is starting to wind to a close, which means people will be spending less time indoors in close quarters.
Denmark is also changing its approach to vaccinating children. In November, they expanded their program to include children aged 5 to 11 in hopes of stemming the spread of the delta variant from younger people to the elderly. However, the health authorities said that they are “now starting to plan to round off the current vaccination program for all target groups, including the program for children aged 5-11.”
However, they reserve the right to change their decision should the situation evolve. Their statement added: “We will of course follow the epidemic closely, and we are ready to change our decision if, contrary to expectations, there is a fourth spring wave or new worrying variants this spring.”
Earlier this month, Denmark put an end to most of its pandemic restrictions as the virus reached the point where officials no longer felt it was a “socially critical disease.” People are transitioning to post-Covid life there, drinking in crowded bars and hugging loved ones, and they are not legally required to quarantine. Denmark may have been one of the first countries to implement a lockdown when the pandemic began, but now they’ve become one of the first EU countries to move toward scrapping all restrictions. When they eased the rules, omicron was still surging in the nation, but its mild nature meant it was not overburdening the health care system.
The chief epidemiologist of the State Serum Institute in Denmark, Tyra Grove Krause, who advises the country’s government, said: "The strategy has, all the way through, been not to put more restrictions on the population than is actually needed to control the epidemic. And right now, the numbers look quite good."
One intensive care doctor told the media that they originally feared they’d be unable to treat everyone when the omicron wave first hit, but they are now certain they won’t get flooded as only a small fraction have become critically ill from it.
Moreover, there’s a better understanding of the statistics now, with Dr. Krause adding that they estimated that around a third of the country’s COVID-19-related deaths were actually people dying with the virus rather than from it.
Despite a lack of official quarantine requirements, Danes are strongly encouraged to isolate for at least four days after a positive test, and people are urged to wear masks in hospitals and senior citizen homes.
If Denmark’s more relaxed approach to the virus is successful, other countries may well follow suit and start returning to life as we knew it before the pandemic hit.
Sources for this article include: