Denmark to Immunize 12-15 Year-Olds Against COVID-19 Ahead of Winter

Denmark to Immunize 12-15 Year-Olds Against COVID-19 Ahead of Winter
Pupils attend a class as schools reopen after lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak at Tved School in Svendborg, on the island of Funen, Denmark, on Feb. 8, 2021. (Ritzau Scanpix/Tim Kildeborg Jensen via Reuters)

COPENHAGEN—Denmark will offer COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 12–15 after the adult population has been inoculated to boost its overall immunity against the virus ahead of the winter, health authorities said on Thursday.

Initially, Denmark will only offer Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12–15 year-olds, as it is the only vaccine approved by the EU’s drug regulator for use in adolescents, the Danish Health Authority said in a statement.

The EU regulator expects to announce a decision on the use of Moderna’s shot in adolescents sometime next month.

“An expansion of the target group to the 12–15-year-olds is necessary to ensure even greater immunity in the population, and thus ensure control of the epidemic in Denmark,” the head of the Danish Health Authority, Soren Brostrom, said.

Vaccination of adolescents would begin after the last adults have been fully vaccinated in mid-September, Brostrom told a press briefing.

“We need the immunity of the population, especially before a winter season,” he said.

In an optimal scenario, Brostrom estimated around 75 percent of Denmark’s population will be immune against the virus after all adults have been inoculated. Vaccinating the adolescents would add another 4 percent to that number, he said.

Danish health authorities would continually review new data on the vaccine’s safety, Brostrom said, and would keep a special eye on data from the United States, where he said over 3 million adolescents had already received a jab with the vaccine.

Denmark made waves when it announced in April and May it would cease to administer vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson to adults over a potential link to a rare but serious form of blood clot.

The Nordic country’s government has since asked health authorities to reconsider the exclusion of those vaccines since new data on their effects and side effects have been reported.

Almost half of Denmark’s population have received a first vaccine shot while more than a quarter are completely inoculated.