Denmark Announces Fourth Vaccine Shot to Vulnerable Groups Amid Omicron Wave
Denmark is currently being swept by a Omicron-driven COVID-19 wave with a record number of infections, and has recently surpassed a milestone of 1 million COVID-19 cases in a nation of 5.8 million.
The Danish health authorities will soon offer fourth vaccine shots to particularly vulnerable groups, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke has announced.
At a time when nearly 55 percent of Danes have received their third shot against COVID-19, the rollout of the next booster is already on the way.
So far, only a tiny fraction of Danes, including a handful of arthritis patients, have been offered a fourth shot in an attempt to bolster their weakened immune system. This week and the next, however, second boosters will be administered to a broader group of people.
"It is focused on those most at risk. These are cancer patients, patients in immunotherapy, and people with immune diseases", Søren Brostrøm, the director of the National Board of Health, said, as quoted by the newspaper Avisen, recalling that they were the first ones to get their third shots in early autumn as well.
According to Brostrøm, nursing home residents and the oldest in the community are also being considered for the fourth shots as well.
"So far, they are well protected by the third shot, which they got in the autumn and early winter. But if we see something that makes us think we should act, then we'll do it", Brostrøm said.
Denmark is currently being swept by a COVID-19 wave, having recently surpassed a milestone of 1 million COVID-19 cases in a nation of 5.8 million. The infection has been languishing at the highest level ever and is being driven by the novel Omicron strain, seen as more infectious yet with milder consequences.
Worldwide, experience with the fourth shot is quite limited. Shortly before the new year began, Israel decided to administer a new round of re-vaccinations for particularly vulnerable groups.
Some 150 employees at the Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv have been vaccinated for a fourth time and have had their blood examined before and after the jab. While the measurements indicated that the number of antibodies jumped five-fold one week after the vaccination, many experienced side effects such as muscle cramps and headaches.
In 2022, Chile became the first country in Latin America to announce fourth shots for immunocompromised residents.