Denmark has become the first country in the world to pause its COVID vaccination rollout after health chiefs said the pandemic has been brought under control.
The Danish Health Authority said it had decided to “wind down” the rollout from 15 May because so many people have had the vaccine, new infections are falling and hospitalisation rates are stabilising.
The country, which lifted all COVID curbs in February after “flattening” the third wave, is believed to be the first to suspend the rollout, with health chiefs saying it is in a “good position”.
“Therefore we are winding down the mass vaccination programme,” Bolette Soborg, the authority’s infectious diseases director, said.
It will continue to recommend jabs to some vulnerable groups, and health officials plan to start the rollout again after the summer.
“We plan to reopen the vaccination programme in the autumn. This will be preceded by a thorough professional assessment of who and when to vaccinate and with which vaccines,” Ms Soberg said.
Around 81% of the country’s 5.8 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated with two doses and a further 62% have received a booster.
US expert cautiously optimistic
The leading infectious diseases expert in the United States expressed his optimism this week about the state of the pandemic in the country.
Dr Anthony Fauci said that although the pandemic isn’t over, the virus is under better control.
“We are in a different moment of the pandemic,” he said.
After a brutal winter surge, he said, “we’ve now decelerated and transitioned into more of a controlled phase”.
He cautioned, however, that “by no means does that mean the pandemic is over”.