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Denmark Sees Record Infection Spread Despite High Vaccination Rate

© AFP 2021 / PHILIP DAVALIPeople queue outside the vaccination center in Oksnehallen in Copenhagen, Denmark, on April 12, 2021, during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
People queue outside the vaccination center in Oksnehallen in Copenhagen, Denmark, on April 12, 2021, during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.10.2021
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While Denmark has vaccinated over 75 percent of its 5.8 million-strong population, the ongoing spike, with figures unseen since winter and spring, came as a negative surprise about the efficacy of vaccines in a country that recently dropped most COVID restrictions, researchers said.
A total of 1,349 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Denmark over the past 24 hours, the Danish State Serum Institute has announced, reporting the highest infection rate since May.
Some 167 Danes were hospitalised with the disease in a single day, also the highest number since May. At the same time, the R number, or reproduction rate, jumped to 2.01, which is the highest level since January.

"As such, these figures are not a disaster, but if they continue to rise in the coming days, then it points in the direction that we must do something", Roskilde University epidemiologist Viggo Andreasen told TV2.

Andreasen pointed out that last year Denmark saw increased infections during the autumn holidays as well, as many tend to socialise more and contacts and travelling become more frequent. Yet, this time around it came as an unpleasant surprise that more vaccinated people had fallen ill, Andreasen noted. So far, Denmark has vaccinated over 75 percent of its 5.8 million inhabitants, with the most vulnerable in the process of getting their booster shots.
"Although the vaccines are good, there is something here that indicates that they are not quite as good as we would like", Viggo Andreasen said.
According to Allan Randrup Thomsen, professor of virology at Copenhagen University, Denmark is seeing more vaccinated people testing positive for COVID-19 precisely because most of the Danish population has been fully inoculated.

"When you look at it in absolute numbers, there are a lot of vaccinated people who are infected because they make up the largest part of the population. We have always known that vaccines do not protect 100 percent. When assessing the protection of a vaccine, there are several parameters to look at. It can be protection against death, illness, or infection. The vaccines have a good effect against death and hospitalisations, but you can still be infected to a certain extent", Allan Randrup Thomsen told Danish Radio.

Per State Serum Institute chief physician Tyra Grove Krause, the Danish population may even need a little reminder that coronavirus actually still exists.

"As all restrictions have been lifted, everyday life is running completely normal again. It appears as if COVID-19 has gone into oblivion", Krause told TV2.
If the trend from recent days continues, Viggo Andreasen argued that it could make sense to focus on further tests and isolation of infected people, as was done earlier in the pandemic.

"We have decided that we must live with some COVID-19 infection in society. But there are limits to how much infection there can be before it starts to wear out the health service", Viggo Andreasen said.

In mid-September Denmark removed all restrictions, some of which had been in place for nearly 550 days, citing high vaccination rates and becoming one of the first European nations to do so. The Danish government reported that it no longer saw COVID as a "socially-critical disease". Among other things, the face mask requirement was abolished and COVID passports, which Denmark was the first to introduce six months ago as proof of vaccination, are no longer required. The said passports sparked vocal protests that led to clashes with police and numerous arrests.
People queue outside the vaccination center in Oksnehallen in Copenhagen, Denmark, on April 12, 2021, during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.08.2021
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