A vial of Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine is seen next to prepared syringes at a medical clinic in Hagen, Germany, on April 7, 2021. ( AFP / Ina Fassbender)

Social media posts mislead on vaccination programme pause in Denmark

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A claim that Denmark has entirely shut down its Covid-19 vaccination programme has been shared thousands of times in social media posts in April 2022. However, the claim is misleading; the Danish Health Authority says that the voluntary vaccination programme has only been paused for the time being and has not been discontinued entirely.

"Denmark has stopped their entire COViD vaccination program," reads this tweet posted by an Australia-based user on April 27, 2022.

The tweet has been reshared more than 8,800 times.

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on May 10, 2022

Denmark kicked off its Covid-19 vaccination programme on December 27, 2020.

Under the voluntary programme, citizens over the age of 5 who reside in the country can receive two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for free.

Those aged 18 years old and above can also receive a booster vaccine for free.

The claim was also shared on Facebook here and here.

However, the claim is misleading.

The Danish Health Authority announced on April 26, 2022, that they would pause the country's Covid-19 vaccination programme and would no longer be sending vaccination invitations from May 15 onwards.

However in the same announcement, the authority also said: "It is still possible to get vaccinated."

A spokesperson from the authority confirmed to AFP that the pause would only be for Denmark's spring and summer season and it's anticipated the vaccination programme would resume in autumn.

"Individuals who are wanting to get the first, second or booster jab are able to do so during this period," the spokesperson told AFP on May 5, 2022.

According to the Danish Health Authority, it continues to recommend vaccinations to people who are at higher risks of developing serious Covid-19 symptoms, particularly people over the age of 40 and pregnant women.

High vaccination rates and the country's "favourable" epidemic situation are among main reasons for the pause of the programme, the spokesperson explained.

Denmark has seen the drop in the number of Covid-19 cases since February 2022, according to data compiled by Oxford-based Our World in Data.

As of May 9, 2022, 89 percent of Denmark's population aged 12 and up had received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 76 percent of those aged 18 and up had received a third dose.

"The authorities will continue to closely monitor the outbreak's progress and are prepared to resume the general vaccination programme should the need arise as a new Covid-19 season is expected to begin in the autumn," the spokesperson added.