COVID-19 vaccines should not have been recommended for all children aged 5 and up, a top Danish health official has said.
Søren Brostrøm, the director general of the Danish Health Authority, told TV 2 that it was a mistake to broadly vaccinate children based on the knowledge that has accumulated since late 2021.
Children aged 5 to 15 were advised to get a vaccine then, as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 became dominant around the world.
“I want to look all parents of children who have vaccinated their child in the eye and say, ‘You did the right thing and thank you for listening,‘” Brostrøm said.
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“But at the same time—and this is the important thing to maintain confidence—I will admit and say that we have become wiser and we would not do the same today. And we will not do that in the future either,” he added.
Studies on the effects of the vaccines have shown that they confer little protection against infection from the virus. Research has also increasingly indicated that the vaccines do not protect well against severe disease in children, who are largely at little risk from severe outcomes if they get the virus.
Denmark’s new vaccine strategy recommends adults get vaccinated but specifies different advice for children.
“Children and adolescents only very rarely have a serious course of COVID-19 with the Omicron variant, which is why the offer of primary vaccination for children between 5 and 17 years will not be a general offer, but can be given after specific medical assessment,” authorities said on Wednesday.
At the same time, Brostrøm encouraged adults to get vaccinated and, if they already have received a primary series, to get a booster, and if they’ve already received a booster, to get a second booster due to waning protection against Omicron.
He said the country did well amid the pandemic in the winter of 2021 even though it removed restrictions due to vaccination. “The strategy for the coming winter is also that the vaccines should get us through a new wave without restriction,” he said in a statement.
Like many nations, Denmark offers Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Both have two-dose primary series.
As of June 15, approximately 85 percent of Danes have received one vaccine dose, about 77 percent have received two or three doses, and about 66 percent have received four doses, according to the Danish Vaccination Register.