COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark is preparing to go through the coming winter without any coronavirus restrictions even with an expected rise in infections, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Friday.
The Nordic country expects to be able to avoid lockdown measures due to new improved booster vaccines, greater immunity in the population and being able to better track the spread of the virus through measures such as waste-water testing.
“We are well prepared. The strategy and goal is a completely open society this coming winter,” Heunicke told a press briefing.
Denmark will receive 4.5 million doses in September of the COVID-19 booster vaccine updated to target the Omicron variant, with the first deliveries due to arrive next week, he said.
From Sept. 15 authorities will begin offering a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to those aged over 50 and vulnerable groups.
While Denmark saw a slight increase in COVID infections over the summer the number of cases now appears to be on the decline, Danish health authorities said.
The European Union’s drug regulator on Thursday backed two separate COVID-19 vaccine boosters updated to target the Omicron variant, ahead of an anticipated rise in infections this winter.
Developed by Moderna and the team of Pfizer and BioNTech, the new so-called bivalent shots combat the BA.1 version of Omicron and the original virus first detected in China.
The European Medicines Agency is also expected to offer its opinion on adapted vaccines targeting the currently dominant BA.4/BA.5 variants in the coming weeks.
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Gareth Jones and Mike Harrison)