Denmark loans unwanted 55,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

ANI
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Copenhagen [Denmark], Apr 22 (ANI): The Danish Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday that Denmark will loan unwanted 55,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to the neighbouring German border state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Citing Danish Foreign Ministry statement, euronews reported, "Following a request from the Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, the government has decided to make 55,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine available to the border region," the ministry said.

"The vaccine doses will be returned after an agreed timeframe," the statement added.

Details of the loan of 55,000 vaccines to Germany were agreed upon by Denmark's National Serum Institute and relevant authorities in Kiel.

Denmark was the first European country to announce that it was abandoning AstraZeneca's jab (Vaxzevria) over concerns of "rare" but "serious" side effects, reported euronews.

Norway's Public Health Institute also recommended against further use of the jab, despite recommendations by the European Medicines Agency and World Health Organization (WHO).

Denmark's health authority has continued the rollout of the vaccines using other jabs developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

But Denmark has indicated that it may reintroduce the AstraZeneca vaccine at a later date "if the situation changes". The country has an estimated stockpile of 200,000 doses of Vaxzevria.

A number of European countries - including Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic - had expressed interest in purchasing unwanted AstraZeneca vaccines from Denmark.

The director of WHO for Europe, Hans Kluge, said last week that Danish authorities are considering sharing unused doses with poorer countries, reported euronews.

It is still not clear whether vaccine deals are possible and permitted under EU procurement rules.

Germany, like other EU member states, has limited AstraZeneca doses to certain age groups, only recommending the jab for citizens aged over 60. (ANI)