Denmark will not offer those under the age of 50 more COVID-19 vaccine boosters, the Danish Health Authority announced this week.
“The purpose of vaccination is not to prevent infection with COVID-19, and people aged under 50 are therefore currently not being offered booster vaccination,” the agency wrote in a Sept. 13 statement.
The Scandinavian country also explicitly dropped any pretense to halt the spread of COVID-19 and announced it will focus on protecting vulnerable individuals, including people with compromised immune systems and the elderly. Those people, it said, are the most at risk of developing severe COVID-19 cases.
Instead, the agency has an “aim to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death,” the statement said.
The Health Authority noted that people under the age of 50 “are generally not at particularly higher risk of becoming severely ill” from the virus.
Younger people “are well protected against becoming severely ill” and a “very large number of them have already been vaccinated and have previously been infected” with COVID-19, it said.
“There is consequently good immunity among this part of the population,” the agency said. “It is important that the population also remembers the guidance on how to prevent the spread of infection, including staying at home in case of illness, frequent aeration or ventilation, social distancing, good coughing etiquette, hand hygiene, and cleaning.”
Denmark was one of the first countries in the world to stop giving COVID-19 vaccines to healthy children. The UK has recently followed suit and ended giving COVID-19 vaccines to most children aged 11 and under.
Children and young people who are at risk of developing COVID-19 cases can still receive the vaccine in Denmark if recommended by a doctor, the health agency said last month.
“The Danish Health Authority does not currently plan on recommending vaccination to persons under the age of 18 as a group,” Lotte Baelum, a spokesperson for the Health Authority, told The Associated Press. “Children and young people who are at increased risk of a serious course of COVID-19 will continue to have the option of vaccination after individual assessment.”
The UK Health Security Agency said in September that children who hadn’t turned 5 by the end of August wouldn’t be offered COVID-19 vaccines, noting that the COVID-19 vaccine offer for kids aged 5 to 11 was a temporary directive.
In the United States, about two months after federal health officials authorized COVID-19 vaccine doses for young children and infants, only a very small percentage of children have received the first dose, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.