People with underlying health conditions, healthcare staff, and social service workers will be vaccinated without the age restriction of 50 years.
A Facebook post shared on September 16, 2022, claims that Denmark has halted the COVID-19 booster vaccine rollout for people under 50. The caption reads, "they NOW say it was never to prevent infection, just to lessen the chances of needing a hospital. The under 50s are far less likely to need a hospital. CARERS IN The UK lost their jobs because of a forced mandate." The post has acquired over 1,600 likes. Similar claims can be seen on Twitter and right-wing news websites like Western Standard.
Several countries are offering COVID-19 vaccine boosters to adults after the initial series of two vaccinations to provide extra protection against the new virus variants. According to Our World in Data, Denmark has vaccinated 82 percent of its population against COVID-19. The country is also administering boosters to its citizens in a planned program. The recent autumn vaccination program revealed by the Danish Health authority on September 13 prioritizes vaccinating people over 50, particularly vulnerable people at risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19. Inaccurate claims have stated that the government will only vaccinate people over 50 years and has halted vaccination for younger ages.
However, this is inaccurate; although everyone under 50 will not be getting boosters under the current plan, it isn't limited only to those above 50. Recommendations by the Danish Health Authority clarify that people under 50 with underlying health conditions and impaired immune systems, all healthcare staff, pregnant women, and social service workers at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 will be vaccinated. The website explains that boosters will not be given to people under 50 in the current plan as the age group is not generally at a higher risk of becoming severely ill. Moreover, a larger population has already been vaccinated, and good immunity exists. These recommendations are contrary to claims made in the viral post.
A report by The Local, Denmark's local English daily, quoted the deputy director of the Danish Health Authority, Helene Bilsted Probst stating that the autumn program will use the updated vaccine that protects against the currently dominant variant of the COVID-19 virus. It also adds that other groups for vaccination include everyone under 50 with pre-determined health conditions.
Furthermore, discussing if "vaccines were never to prevent infection, just to lessen the chances of needing a hospital," as claimed in the post, the World Health Organization (WHO) has always maintained that "COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death." The U.K. National Health Service (NHS) also adds that COVID-19 vaccines have significantly reduced this risk of serious illness.
Several other misleading claims have been made about Denmark's vaccination program; claims that the health regulator has banned vaccines for children are also false and debunked by other organizations.
Indeed not everyone under the age of 50 is being offered the booster jab. But people with underlying health conditions and those working close to vulnerable patients are vaccinated without age restrictions in Denmark's autumn vaccination program. Hence, we have marked this claim as misleading.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.