Fact Check: Did Denmark Ban the COVID Vaccine for Children?

Is it true that Denmark banned the COVID vaccine for children? Fact checkers say no, but Denmark says almost. 

The Associated Press (AP) fact checker decided to look into claims that Denmark had banned the vaccine for children, and presents reality as the nation merely not  recommending the vaccine for the under-18 age group. The AP writes that “The Danish Health Authority will no longer recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for those under the age of 18, but it hasn’t placed an overall ban on the shots for that age group. Children and youths who are at risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19 can still receive the vaccine in Denmark if recommended by a doctor, the agency said.”

The exception for those at risk of developing a severe case is the AP’s entire basis for calling it “false” that Denmark banned COVID vaccines for children. Oddly, the AP doesn’t ever admit that the vaccine is effectively banned for everyone else under the age of 18, it’s only hinted at. The AP describes Denmark’s new policy as; “Starting Sept. 1, youths will no longer get the second dose although those who are at risk of developing serious illness can still get the vaccine after a medical assessment.”

The wording “will no longer get” is in stark contrast to the language on the Danish Health Authority‘s website, which explains “From 1 July 2022, it was no longer possible for children and adolescents aged under 18 to get the first injection and, from 1 September 2022, it was no longer possible for them to get the second injection.” The AP’s phrasing throughout their entire supposed fact check leaves enough ambiguity that one could get the impression that Denmark simply discouraged the COVID vaccine for those under age 18 – as opposed to a virtual ban on it with exceptions. 

This comes despite the Danish Health Service predicting that “many people will be infected with covid-19 during autumn and winter.” While they never explicitly state that children are so low risk that the risks of the vaccine outweigh the potential benefits, that is the most obvious impliciation of their policy change. 

The Danish Health Authority does maintain a pro-vaccine stance for those age 50 and over, citing their elevated risk from the virus. 

Lastly, the Associated Press claims that “The Danish Health Authority still recommends that people who are completely unvaccinated still receive primary vaccination.” But once you click through to their source, you find that the Danish Health Authority never actually says this, their website states that “Since January, particularly vulnerable people, for example people with severely impaired immune systems, have been able to receive a booster vaccination if their hospital doctor assessed that they would benefit from the extra vaccination.” As for the process of obtaining one, they state that “Your doctor must make a medical assessment of whether it is a good idea for you to receive a booster vaccination at the present time.” In fact, the word “unvaccinated” doesn’t even appear once on that particular webpage they linked to. 

Reuters’ fact checker chimed in too with a similar fact check to the APs, also arguing that this wasn’t really a *ban* on the vaccine for children because there are exceptions. While that’s technically true, I suspect this sort of logic would never be applied to other issues. If, for example, a Republican were to say that a ban on all abortions isn’t really an abortion ban because of exceptions for rape or incest, the probability a fact checker like the AP or Reuters would agree is roughly zero. 

Matt Palumbo is the author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros

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