Denmark said Tuesday it would give 55,000 doses of its AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein after dropping the jab from its vaccination programme amid concerns about side effects.
“Following a request from the minister-president of Schleswig-Holstein, the government has decided to put 55,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at the disposal of the border regions,” the Danish foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The vaccine doses will be returned upon an agreed timeframe,” it added.
Denmark was the first country in Europe to suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s jab in its vaccination rollout in March, after reports of rare but serious cases of blood clots among those who had received the vaccine.
The Danish Health Authority announced on April 14 it was dropping the vaccine from Denmark’s vaccination programme altogether, citing “a potential cross-reaction between the vaccine and a low platelet count”.
It said the decision was “contextual”, noting that “the majority of the population at risk has been vaccinated and the epidemic is under control”.
Denmark is continuing its immunisation campaign using the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, but said it might re-introduce the AstraZeneca jab at a later date “if the situation changes”.
The country has a stockpile of some 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Germany, which has recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine only for people aged 60 and over, is struggling to rein in a third Covid wave.
The World Health Organization and Europe’s medicines watchdog have meanwhile recommended that countries continue using the Anglo-Swedish shot, insisting it is safe and effective and that the benefits outweigh the risks.