Denmark slows vaccine rollout after Pfizer delivery delays

COPENHAGEN (AFP) – Denmark announced yesterday that it was revising its targets for Covid-19 vaccinations down by 10 per cent in the first quarter due the temporary reduction in deliveries of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Europe.

Denmark, which started inoculations on December 27, 2020, had one of the quickest rollouts of the Covid-19 vaccine per capita in Europe, nearly three per cent of the population – 177,000 people – having received the first dose.

But after Pfizer announced it would reduce deliveries as it tried scale up production, Denmark will now have to slow down.

“This means in practice, that Denmark in the first quarter will administer about 85,000 to 100,000 fewer vaccinations than were originally planned,” the Danish infectious disease authority SSI said in a statement. This would translate to between 42,000 and 50,000 fewer Danes being vaccinated, SSI added.

For the coming week, some 30,000 to 35,000 fewer doses of the vaccine are to be administered than originally planned, much to the dismay of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

“We cannot tolerate any further delays on the vaccines,” she was quoted as saying by news agency Ritzau on Tuesday.

“It is a matter of life and death at this time. That is why we need to speed up the European Union’s (EU) vaccine rollout.”

United States (US) drugmaker Pfizer, which developed the jab in collaboration with Germany’s BioNTech, said over the weekend that deliveries should be back to the original schedule to the EU from January 25.