Denmark still offering COVID-19 vaccinations
CLAIM: Denmark has become the first country to suspend COVID-19 vaccinations.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Denmark is ending broad vaccination efforts, meaning they will no longer send out vaccination invitations or reminders, but people can still get vaccinated against COVID-19 as needed.
THE FACTS: Social media users on Wednesday shared posts that misinterpreted a statement from the Danish Health Authority about the country’s mass vaccination program that began in December 2020, falsely suggesting Denmark would no longer be vaccinating citizens.
“Denmark becomes first country to suspend COVID vaccinations,” an Instagram user wrote.
Similar claims were also shared on Facebook and Twitter.
Denmark’s health authority states on its website that starting May 15, electronic vaccine invitations will no longer be issued, but people can still receive their vaccine. Through the program, vaccine invitations notify people when they are eligible to receive a shot and provide information on the vaccine and time slots to book an appointment.
Vaccines will still be recommended, especially to groups who are at risk of developing severe disease, people who have started the vaccine course but haven’t completed it, people over 40 and pregnant women. The second booster shot is currently offered to people with weakened immune systems or other types of diseases.
People can contact vaccination sites that are still open around the country to receive shots.
“Denmark has not suspended covid vaccinations,” Signe Breitenstein, spokesperson for the Danish Health Authority, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “The vaccine coverage is high in the Danish population and the epidemic situation is favorable. We can therefore close the broad vaccination programme for the time being, which for instance means that electronic invitations to be vaccinated no longer are sent.”
Around 81% of Denmark’s population of 5.8 million has received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while nearly 62% have received a booster.
Bolette Søborg, Denmark’s chief physician, also noted Tuesday in an update about the vaccine program that Denmark is “in a good place” with COVID-19.
“Spring has arrived, vaccine coverage in the Danish population is high, and the epidemic has reversed. Therefore, the National Board of Health is now ending the broad vaccination efforts against covid-19 for this season,” the update stated.
Denmark’s vaccine program is set to resume in the fall in anticipation of a potential new variants or an increase in cases heading into winter.
“We plan to open the vaccination program again in the autumn,” Søborg said. Prior to this, a thorough professional assessment must be made of who and when to be vaccinated and with which vaccines. We expect to present a plan for the overall framework for the 2022/23 season before the summer holidays.”
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.