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Denmark to offer 4th COVID vaccine shots to the highly vulnerable

Danish health minister says move marks ‘new chapter’ in fight against pandemic; Israel was first country to roll out extra booster dose for at-risk and over-60s earlier this month

Illustrative: A medical student prepares a syringe with vaccination against COVID-19 in Berlin, Germany, January 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Illustrative: A medical student prepares a syringe with vaccination against COVID-19 in Berlin, Germany, January 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Danish government on Wednesday proposed a fourth COVID vaccine dose for highly vulnerable people, amid a spike in cases of the Omicron variant.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said the move marked a “new chapter” in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Denmark will offer the fourth dose to “the most vulnerable citizens” — notably those diagnosed with serious ailments who received an initial booster during the autumn, Heunicke told a news conference.

Earlier this month, Israel began what is believed to be the first wide rollout of a fourth vaccination to people 60 and older, those with compromised immune systems, and medical workers.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 450,000 Israelis have received a fourth dose, according to Health Ministry data.

Danish health authorities said those eligible for the fourth dose would be contacted by early next week.

A woman grimaces as she is given a vaccination at a COVID-19 booster vaccination center in Glasgow, Scotland, December 29, 2021. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)

Heunicke also announced the re-opening of cultural institutions, closed since December 19 in a country where 3,433 people have died since the start of the pandemic, according to latest official data published Wednesday.

Denmark, population 5.8 million, has so far logged more than one million COVID cases, with more than 90 percent of those emerging in recent weeks of the Omicron variant.

A maximum of 500 people will be allowed into indoor venues but bars and restaurants will have to close at 11 pm and the sale of alcohol will be banned from 10 pm.

Praising an “ambitious” immunization campaign, Heunicke said Denmark “once again has the epidemic under control” as it looks to join Israel and Chile in offering a fourth dose to at-risk citizens.

The validity of health passes for the 79.6% of the population jabbed will meanwhile be cut from the current seven to five months following a second dose.

After a third dose — which 54.6% of the population have received to date — the pass will be valid indefinitely.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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