Denmark was one of the first countries in the European Union to relax all domestic restrictions put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Government officials on Friday lifted the country’s remaining restrictions, including requiring people to present a vaccination card through a vaccination record to enter nightclubs. The Danish Ministry of Health said the high vaccine intake had allowed the country to pull back measures to fight the pandemic.
“The epidemic is under control” The Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said in a statement August, when he announced the country would not extend its Covid restrictions after Friday.
According to the Danish Health Authority, more than 83 percent of eligible people over 12 years of age in Denmark are fully vaccinated. The Scandinavian country has registered an average of around 500 new cases per day over the past week, but the Ministry of Health said containment efforts and widespread vaccine support no longer require Covid-19 to be classified as a “socially critical disease”.
Heunicke said Denmark is “in a good place right now” but warned that “we are not out of the epidemic” and added that the government will take action quickly if necessary.
The easing of the restrictions continues following the publication of new data on the effectiveness of vaccines in the Danish population. A Study was published earlier this month from the Statens Serum Institute in Denmark found that the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine was more than 84 percent effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 from the Delta variant, while the vaccine developed by Moderna was almost 89 percent effective against Delta.
Both vaccines also offered strong protection against hospitalization through the Delta variant. The study found that Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines against serious illnesses were 94.4 percent and 100 percent effective, respectively.
Michael Bang Petersen, professor of political science at Aarhus University in Denmark who advised the Danish government, said gaining public trust is key to vaccine acceptance in the country.
“Vaccinations are the basis for an open society. 86% of all those invited (aged 12 and over) have received a 1+ dose. 96% of all those over 50 are fully vaccinated.” he tweeted Friday. “During the pandemic [Denmark] has a higher level of acceptance than many comparable countries. No mandates required. “
Petersen led a project that examined behaviors and attitudes related to the pandemic in eight countries, including Denmark, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the United States.
Petersen and colleagues noted that government and public health officials’ trust in the pandemic to be addressed is critical to the vaccine’s uptake. In a study published on June 15 in the BMJ Open magazine, the researchers found large differences in vaccine acceptance, ranging from 47 percent in France to 83 percent in Denmark.
“A lack of vaccine acceptance goes hand in hand with a lack of trust in authorities and scientists, conspiratorial thinking and a lack of concern about COVID-19,” the scientists write in the study.
Petersen said public health confidence is “incredibly high” and “completely stable” in Denmark, which has supported efforts to roll out vaccines across the country. He added that while the government will continue to monitor the situation, there is enough trust between the Danish authorities and the public to see the next steps.
“Will the lifting of restrictions go well? Who knows, ”he tweeted. “New variants can arise and restrictions reappear. From a behavioral point of view, however, I am optimistic about the future. “