No 1 - 2021

Continued offer of free whooping cough vaccination for pregnant women

Covid-19 vaccination - diluent and needle sizes

First citizens have now received a letter inviting them to attend Covid-19 vaccination

Continued offer of free whooping cough vaccination for pregnant women

A temporary offer of free whooping cough vaccination for pregnant women was introduced on 1 November 2019 due to the epidemic occurrence of whooping cough, EPI-NEWS 41/19. The offer has been extended repeatedly, most recently to the end of 2020.

The offer has now been further extended (for now) until 1 April 2021. The free offer is currently described in an update to the Executive order of 17 December 2020 on free vaccination against some infectious diseases etc. (in Danish language).

The disease no longer occurs epidemically, EPI-NEWS 27-33/20, but the SSI still finds that there are sufficient medical grounds for protecting neonates optimally against this infection by vaccination of the mother in the third trimester of her pregnancy, normally at the GP check-up in week 32.

For more information about the offer, please see the SSI website (in Danish language).

P. H. Andersen, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention)

Covid-19 vaccination - diluent and needle sizes

In connection with the initiation of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the SSI has received feedback from the Danish regions concerning practical challenges related to the vaccination effort.

The ampoules containing isotonic saline which were provided by the SSI include a built-in luer-lock. In contrast, the provided 2 mL syringes for withdrawal of saline (diluent) do not have this built-in luer-lock. This means that after opening the ampoule, withdrawal of diluent must not be done by connecting the syringe and ampoule directly, but via the provided withdrawal needle, which has hitherto been a pink 18 G needle. After withdrawing the diluent, the rest of the ampoule is discarded, EPI-NEWS 52b/20.

Furthermore, we have received a few reports that “lint” has been observed in the vaccine vial after the diluent was added via the provided pink 18 G needle. The manufacturer of the Comirnaty® vaccine instructs users to use a 21 G needle to withdraw and subsequently inject diluent into the vaccine vial. This recommendation was not known when the SSI had to order needles and syringes in order to ensure sufficient amounts to cover the needs of the vaccination programme.

The SSI has therefore decided to purchase new needles that meet the manufacturer’s recommendations to withdraw the diluent. We expect these needles to be supplied within three weeks. Once the green 21 G 40 mm needles have been supplied, the pink needles may be returned to the SSI in unopened boxes.

(P. H. Andersen, Department of Infectious Epidemiology and Prevention, J.H. Jespersen, QA og Compliance, C. Brygger Røgild, Supply)

First citizens have now received a letter inviting them to attend Covid-19 vaccination

On Tuesday 5 January 2021, the first invitation letters for COVID-19 vaccination were sent to Danish citizens’ e-Boks. Citizens who are exempt from e-Boks will receive the letter by surface mail.

Initially, the letters are sent to vulnerable, home-dwelling citizens, who are receiving personal and practical help. Around 50,000 persons will be receiving the letter in the coming days.

Statens Serum Institut (SSI) as well as the Danish Health Authority sign the letter as senders. In addition to information about how to book an appointment, the letter includes information about the handling of personal information in connection with the vaccination and where citizens may obtain more information.

The citizen needs to visit and log on using his or her NemID to book a vaccination appointment. Citizens who do not hold a NemID may contact the relevant region by phone. This is also described at the website.

Furthermore, the letter includes a special section about transportation for persons who, due to chronic physical or mental impairment, are unable to reach the vaccination centre by themselves or with the assistance of relatives. This group of citizens may approach their municipality or the home care services to receive assistance with transportation. In cases where the municipality organises transportation, the citizen should not book a vaccination appointment independently. This will be done by the municipality.

The offer concerns vaccination with the Comirnaty® vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech, and therefore the citizen needs to book two vaccination appointments. Both vaccination appointments are booked at the same time. In the short term, other vaccines are expected to be provided once they have been approved and form part of the vaccination programme.

When you as a primary healthcare practitioner receive questions from citizens about COVID-19 vaccination, feel free to refer them to the authorities’ joint COVID-19 hotline at +45 7020 0233, the website of the Danish Health Authority (Danish for: COVID-19 vaccination) 

At the SSI website, you will find information about COVID-19 vaccination targeted healthcare workers (in Danish language).

Click here to see the letter from the SSI and the Danish Health Authority.

(B. Jørgensen, Digital Communication, L.K. Knudsen, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention)