Denmark is leading the EU in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as a result of a fast and smooth roll-out. The pace at which the first dose was delivered in the country is around three times the EU average. Three insights on Denmark’s COVID-19 vaccine approach include maximizing the number of people receiving their first dose, an effective universal healthcare system, and campaigning in nursing homes.
Maximizing the Number of People Receiving Their First Dose
- Denmark chose to maximize the number of persons to get their first dose. While other countries have kept half of their COVID-19 vaccine allocation due to delivery concerns to ensure that people would get the second dose, Denmark has embarked on a swift distribution drive and has used up the first doses of its Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
- The government had made it clear that the vaccines should be used as soon as they arrive on Danish soil.
- Danish nurses also helped to speed things along as they were “able to squeeze six doses of vaccine out of each vial, instead of the expected five”. More persons would have received the first dose if it was still available. The Danish government has also extended the time after which the second dose is received to a maximum of six weeks.
- As of 20 January, Denmark has already inoculated around 3% of its citizens with the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The strategy of the Danish government is to give the first dose of the vaccine to all of its adult citizens who like to receive it. The pace at which the Danes are administered the first dose of the vaccine is around three times the EU average. The country wants to vaccinate around 80% of its adult citizens by June.
- Some EU countries had rejected part of their quota of the Pfizer vaccines and decided to wait for the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is cheaper and easier to store. On the other hand, Denmark comprehensively prepared for the roll-out of the Pfizer vaccine. The country purchased specialized freezer storage systems.
Effective Universal Healthcare System
- The Danish healthcare system made it easier to rapidly distribute the vaccine. The healthcare system is managed by local regions that are easily mobilized. They also possess an excellent IT infrastructure that allows everyone who receives the vaccine to be registered.
- The vaccines are first delivered to the country’s public vaccine institute, which apportions and sends them to the five regional health authorities in the country in proportion to the size of their population.
- Every Danish citizen has a national identification number stored in a centralized digital database. This enables government officials to authorities to search effectively for every citizen above a particular age, and inform them directly via their “e-Boks” when it is their turn to get the vaccine. Those who cannot receive Digital Post will receive a letter in their mail.