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Denmark becomes the first country to stop its COVID vaccination program as officials say the virus is under control

April 28, 2022, 2:30 PM UTC

Denmark has become the first country to suspend its COVID vaccination program as health officials say the country’s epidemic has been brought under control.

“Spring has arrived, vaccine coverage in the Danish population is high, and the epidemic has reversed,” the health authority said. “Therefore, the National Board of Health is now ending the broad vaccination efforts against COVID-19 for this season.”

According to official data, 89% of people over the age of 12 in Denmark have been fully vaccinated against COVID, while 76% of adults have received a booster shot.

Almost half of children aged between five and 11 have had one dose of a vaccine, while a third have been given two doses.

On Wednesday, Denmark recorded 1,386 new cases of the virus, according to Our World in Data.

In an emailed statement on Thursday, the Danish Health Authority told Fortune that the epidemic situation in Denmark is “favorable.”

“We can therefore close the general vaccination program for the spring and summer, which means that new invitations to be vaccinated are no longer being sent,” the authority said.

Officials are set to stop sending out invitations for vaccinations as of May 15. But the health authority said it continues to recommend vaccination against COVID, particularly to those who are at greater risk of serious disease. Those at the greatest risk are eligible for a fourth vaccine dose in Denmark.

“We will continue to monitor the development of the epidemic closely, and we are ready to resume the general vaccination program should the need arise before a new COVID-19 season is expected to begin in the autumn,” the Danish Health Authority told Fortune.

The authority is likely to resume its broad vaccination program in the fall, with officials saying there will probably be a need to vaccinate ahead of an expected seasonal uptick in infections.

Denmark’s withdrawal of its aggressive vaccination strategy reflects the country’s somewhat hands-off response to COVID through the course of this year.

In February, Denmark lifted almost all of its COVID restrictions despite being in the middle of a huge Omicron wave and cases of the virus being at record highs.

Danish health officials have touted so-called hybrid immunity—widespread population immunity achieved through a combination of vaccination and infection—as a reason for the country’s COVID epidemic becoming more controllable.

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