Denmark on Tuesday became the first country to suspend its national COVID-19 vaccine campaign after health officials said the pandemic is under control there. Meanwhile, the European Union is planning to announce a “post-emergency” phase.
Bolette Soborg, director of the Danish Health Authority’s department of infectious diseases, on Tuesday said Denmark is “winding down” the mass vaccination program, and that invitations for vaccinations would no longer be issued after May 15.
“We plan to reopen the vaccination programme in the autumn,” Soborg said, adding: “This will be preceded by a thorough professional assessment of who and when to vaccinate and with which vaccines.”
Public health authorities cited several factors contributing to the decision to end the national vaccination campaign. These include a decline in the number of new reported infections, stabilized hospitalization rates and an overall high level of vaccination.
This decision comes just a few months after Denmark eliminated all COVID-19-related restrictions, becoming the first European Union (EU) member state to do so.
On February 1, the country dropped restrictions ranging from vaccine passports to mask mandates. Public health authorities at the time said COVID-19 was no longer considered a critical threat to public health.
Despite a “surge” in reported infections in Denmark, attributed to the Omicron variant, health authorities said these cases are not placing a heavy burden on the country’s health system.
Denmark’s health authorities are the first to explicitly state that future COVID-19 vaccination drives will be targeted, rather than universal.