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About the target groups for vaccination

Initially, we will not have enough vaccine to vaccinate everyone as the first COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in limited instalments.

The end goal is to offer vaccination to everyone in Denmark. However, some people - for example, childre, pregant or breastfeeding women - cannot be vaccinated because the vaccines have not been approved for them. When it is your turn to be vaccinated against COVID-19, you will be notified by the Danish Health Authority and Statens Serum Institut via your e-Boks or by mail if you exempt from receiving Digital Post. Once you have received the offer of vaccination you must book your own appointment for vaccination, but the letter will tell you everything you need to know. 

The Danish Health Authority has determined that the target groups for the vaccination programme should be given priority in the following order:

  1. Residents in nursing homes, etc.
  2. People aged ≥ 65 years who receive both personal care and practical assistance.
  3. People aged ≥ 85 years.
  4. Personnel in healthcare, elderly care and selected parts of the social sector who are at particular risk of infection or who has been identified as performing a critical function in society.
  5. Selected persons with conditions and diseases that result in a significantly increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  6. Selected relatives of persons at significantly increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or relatives who are indispensable as carers. 
  7. People aged 80-84.
  8. People aged 75-79.
  9. People aged 65-74.
  10. People under 65 years of age who have conditions and diseases that put them at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  11. Staff in other sectors critical to the functioning of society.
  12. The remaining population, for example prioritised according to age.

This prioritised order is based on a professional assessment on how best to protect volunerable citizens and frontline staff. 

When is it my turn to be vaccinated?

Please consult this vaccination calendar to see when we expect the groups mentioned above to be offered vaccination. The calendar will be revised continuously. Please note that the calendar is in Danish.

Vaccination calendar (in Danish)

 

FAQ - on the target groups in the vaccination programme

1. Who will be offered vaccination?

Everyone will be offered vaccination as and when we receive enough approved vaccines in Denmark. However, we do not offer vaccination to children under 16 years of age or pregnant or breastfeeding women because the vaccines have not been tested on those groups.

At a time when we receive only limited amounts of vaccine, vaccination will be offered in priority order, determined on an evidence-based assessment by the Danish Health Authority. Initially, residents of nursing homes, personnel in healthcare and elderly care, and older people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 will be offered vaccination against the disease. When we get more vaccines, we will gradually extend the offer to all seniors over 65. Later, when all elderly and others at higher risk have received the offer, and we have received more vaccines, we will extend the offer to anyone between 16 and 64 years of age.

Please consult the vaccination calendar (in Danish) to see when the various target groups can expect to be offered vaccination.

 

2. Can anyone get vaccinated?

Children under the age of 16 and pregnant or breastfeeding women have not been included in any COVID-19 vaccination trials to date, which is why they are not currently offered vaccination. However, in exceptional cases, for example in the event of severe diseases, a child or pregnant woman may be offered vaccination based on an individual, medical assessment.

Women of childbearing age should be aware of whether they may be pregnant before being vaccinated.

 

3. Who determined in which order vaccination is offered? 

Based on a professional assessment, the Danish Health Authority has determined the target groups' prioritised order. Please see the order above.

In time, all citizens of Denmark for whom vaccines are approved will be offered vaccination. The offer is voluntary and free of charge.

We want the vaccines to be distributed as quickly and smoothly as possible. The vaccines have to be stored and handled under very specific conditions, so we need to keep the distribution of vaccines under strict control. Every dose counts.

In prioritising the target groups, the Danish Health Authority has primarily focused on the following three main objectives of the vaccination programme and current knowledge of how severe COVID-19 affects the different groups:

  1. Minimising death and severe illness due to COVID-19.
  2. Minimising the spread of infection and epidemic control.
  3. Ensuring key societal functions.

Furthermore, the following factors are included in the determination of the order in which the various target groups are offered vaccination:

  • Efficacy of vaccines versus the risk of adverse side effect
    All vaccines carry a risk of adverse reactions that may be mild and transient or, in rare cases, of a more severe nature. Therefore, one must consider whether there are certain groups, for example pregnant women, for whom the effects of the vaccination do not outweigh running the risk of adverse side effects.
    The number of vaccines available
  • Initially, we cannot expect to receive so much vaccine that it will be possible to vaccinate Denmark's entire population.
    Therefore, the number of vaccines available to us determines which target groups it will be possible and most appropriate to vaccinate first.
  • Vaccines must reach the target group quickly
    It is vital to distribute and administer the vaccine quickly to the target group in order not to delay the effect of vaccination.

At the same time, there is a need for continuous assessment and reassessment of efforts and priorities in relation to current conditions – for example, which groups the vaccines are approved and suitable for, how many and which vaccines are available, and where the infection in society is most significant.

 

4. You have scheduled a prioritised order of vaccination - why don't you follow it?

The order is designed to accommodate those groups most at risk of becoming infected or severely ill from COVID-19. However, in the implementation stage of the vaccination effort, other considerations have also been taken into account. For example, it has been imperative to reduce the risk of major outbreaks in nursing homes, which is why both residents and staff have been offered vaccination simultaneously, even though they belong in different priority groups.

5. I belong in several target groups, when can I expect to be vaccinated?

You will be offered vaccination according to the highest priority target group to which you belong. The following are examples of people who belong in several target groups:

  • 63-year-old A&E nurse with COPD
    She belongs in three target groups: her age places her in group 12; chronic illness place her in target group 10, and her work as frontline staff places her in target group 4. 
    She will be offered vaccination as part of target group 4. As frontline staff in an emergency department, she cannot avoid close contact with people who could be infected with novel coronavirus or at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. She can expect to receive the offer of vaccination sometime between now and April. The exact time depends on which region she works in.
  • 57-year-old woman whose husband has blood cancer and a severely impaired immune system
    She belongs in target group 6, consisting of selected relatives of people at particularly high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and in target group 12 because of her age. Being the relative of someone at particularly high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, she will be offered vaccination as part of target group 6.
  • 55-year-old kindergarten teacher in an area where the virus is widespread
    According to his age, he belongs in target group 12 – i.e. the remaining population (everyone over the age of 16) and can expect to be offered vaccination from mid-April until June. Working with children is not a particular risk factor, as children are generally not severely affected by COVID-19. Therefore, working with children is not a prioritising factor and teachers are not automatically included in group 11: Staff in other sectors critical to the functioning of society.
  • 27-year-old social pedagogue who works at a residential treatment facility for young people who are severely physically or mentally disabled
    His age puts him in target group 12 – i.e. the remaining population (everyone over the age of 16). However, his work also puts him in target group 4 because he works with people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Therefore, he will be vaccinated as part of target group 4 and can expect to be offered vaccination sometime between now and April.
  • 35-year-old teacher at a special needs school
    His age puts in in target group 12 - i.e. the remaining population (everyone over the age of 16) – and he can expect to receive the offer of vaccination sometime between mid-April and June. Working with children is not a particular risk factor for getting COVID-19, as children are not generally severely affected by the disease.Therefore, teachers are not included in group 11: Staff in other sectors critical to the functioning of society.
  • 78-year-old man with high blood pressure
    High blood pressure in itself does not increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Therefore, he is offered vaccination based on his age and belongs in the target group 8 (75-79 year-olds). He can expect to be offered vaccination sometime between mid-March and mid-May.
  • 23-year-old woman with cystic fibrosis
    This woman belongs in target group 5 because her disease puts her at particularly high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. She can expect to be offered vaccination sometime between now and mid-April.
  • 64-year-old man with Alzheimer's disease
    This man is at higher risk due to his disease and therefore belongs in target group 10. He can expect to be offered vaccination sometime between April and mid-May. His age alone would put him in target group 12.
  • Daughter of a 65-year-old man on dialysis due to kidney disease. The daughter does not live at home.
    Only a small group of relatives are offered vaccination. In this particular case, the daughter will not be included in this group because she does not participate in her father's care. Although he may be at high risk, her father is not at particularly high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Therefore, he will be vaccinated when it is his turn. The daughter belongs in target group 12 (remaining population over the age of 16) and is likely to be offered vaccination between mid-April and June.
  • 18-year-old woman who works as a temporarily employed assistant in a nursing home
    She is in target group 4 because her work involves people in target group 1 – residents in nursing homes, etc. She can expect to be offered vaccination sometime between now and April. The nursing home administration determines the order in which staff is vaccinated.
  • 55-year-old man who, due to heart failure, is short of breath even when engaging in light physical activities.
    This man is at higher risk due to his illness and belongs in target group 10. He can expect to be vaccinated sometime between April and mid-May.
  • Severely obese (BMI > 35) 35-year-old woman 
    Because she is severely overweight, she is at higher risk and belongs in target group 10. She can expect to be offered vaccination sometime between April and mid-May. 

6. Who decides whether I should be vaccinated because of my profession?

Management will determine the order in which frontline staff is offered vaccination. Students and temporary staff who work as frontline staff belong in group 4. Therefore, they will be offered vaccination by virtue of the tasks they perform.

The Danish Health Authority has announced that any prioritisation of frontline staff must follow these guiding principles:

  • How exposed the employee is to infection with novel coronavirus. 
    • High risk: close contact with unassessed patient or patients either suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
    • Medium risk: close contact with assessed patients.
    • Low risk: when it is possible to keep your distance
    • No risk: when you do come into contact with patients
  • The severity of the consequences should the employee inadvertently infect his or her patient/client. The risk is, for example, high if the employee has close contact with people at particularly high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The risk is low if the employee only has contact with people who are not expected to become particularly ill if they become infected – e.g. young and healthy.
  • The employees in question hold such specialised functions they will be hard to replace if they are absent because they are either infected with novel coronavirus or ill from COVID-19. 

7. What does it mean to be a critical worker?

Critical workers (or key workers) include people whose jobs or skill sets are vital to the functioning of society.

Examples

  • Power plant control room operators
    The energy sector is crucial to society, and, e.g. highly skilled control room operators are not easily replaced, and we need them to maintain the heat supply in Denmark. 

    For this reason, control room operators are considered critical workers.
  • Food transport delivery drivers
    We need to maintain a steady supply of food in Denmark. However, individual drivers are relatively easily replaced. 

    Food transport delivery drivers are therefore not considered critical workers.   
 

8. When will private health professionals be offered vaccination?

Initially, only a select group of staff in nursing homes, emergency and intensive care units will be offered vaccination.

We are aware that private health professionals are anxious to know when they can be vaccinated and will let you know as soon as possible.

9. Which taget group do I belong in if, for example, I turn 75 this year?

Age groups are based on the year you were born - not the date or month. Therefore, if you turn 75 in 2021, you belong in the age group 75-79 year-olds. This guiding principle applies to all age groups. 

10. Is there anyone who should not be vaccinated?

Most people can be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, some people should not be vaccinated due to underlying medical conditions. 

People with food allergies (including eggs, nuts, shellfish and peanuts) or pollen allergy may be vaccinated.  

Examples of when you should be cautious:

Blood thinners

If you are taking prescribed blood thinners, some bleeding or bruising may occur after injection of the vaccine into the muscle, but usually, it is safe for you to be vaccinated. In case you have too few platelets or a bleeding disorder such as haemophilia, where injection into muscles is not recommended, you should not be vaccinated unless the potiential advantages clearly outweith the risk of vaccination.

Immediate severe allergic reations

If you have a known severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to one or more of the active ingredients in the vaccines, such as macrogol/PEG/polyethene glycol, you should not be vaccinated. 

If you do not have a known allergy to one of the ingredients, you may go ahead with the vaccination. However, please consult your doctor before vaccination if you have previously experienced a severe allergic reaction immediately following another vaccination. Your doctor can assess whether, based on your medical history, you might have an allergy to the active ingredients in the vaccines.

If you had a severe allergic reaction immediately following the first vaccination, do not get vaccinated with the second dose.

People who suffer from the disease mastocytosis have an increased risk of having an allergic reaction immediately following any vaccination. Therefore, people with mastocytosis must be assessed by Hudafdeling I and the Allergy Centre at Odense University Hospital. 

 

 

11. Can people with impaired immune systems be vaccinated?

Generally speaking, people with immunodeficiency or people who receive immunosuppressive treatment, such as high-dose prednisolone or biological treatment, may be vaccinated. However, the effect of vaccination may be reduced.

 

12. Can those who cannot tolerate certain vaccines be vaccinated with another vaccine?

The two vaccines currently approved for use in Denmark are based on the same technology and they contain the same kind of ingredients. More vaccines may later be approved, which may be better suited to those who cannot tolerate the currently approved vaccines. The Danish Health Authority will continuously update information and guidance as more vaccines are approved.

 

13. Can children at particularly high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 be vaccinated?

As a rule, children under 16 years of age are not offered vaccination against COVID-19 because the vaccines have not been studied or tested on these age groups.

However, in exceptional circumstances, such as if the child suffers from a serious illness which renders it particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, the child's doctor may decide that the child should be vaccinated.

 

14. Is there a chance that the vaccine will be approved for children?

Scientific studies are currently ongoing. When those results are in, we will know much more about efficacy and side effects on children and adolescents and whether we will begin vaccinated those age groups at a later stage. 

15. Can relatives of people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 be vaccinated?

Relatives are offered vaccination if they are permanently involved in specific care tasks or act as an indispensable caregiver to someone who is at extraordinarily high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

In addition, relatives can be offered vaccination if they are the relatives of someone who is at particularly high risk - and this person either cannot be vaccinated or if insufficient efficacy of the vaccine is anticipated. 

Your relative's doctor will decide whether to offer vaccination to you.

  

16. Can you be vaccinated if you have botox or implants?

You can get vaccinated if you have been injected with botox or have implants. There have bee a few cases where the COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna® has caused facial swelling in people with dermal fillers. However, dermal fillers are not the same as either botox or implants.

17. Can you be vaccinated when you are other medication?

Yes, the vast majority of people will be able to be vaccinated. However, some medications are not compatible with injections into the muscle (some very powerful blood thinners, for example).  If you have been told that you should not receive injections into the muscle, this also applies to the COVID-19 vaccines. Regular blood thinners are not an obstacle to vaccination against COVID-19.
Updated 20 JAN 2021