Changing characteristics over time of individuals receiving COVID-19 vaccines in Denmark: A population-based descriptive study of vaccine uptake

Scand J Public Health. 2022 Aug;50(6):686-692. doi: 10.1177/14034948221108246. Epub 2022 Jul 7.


Aims: The Danish authorities implemented a differential rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines where individuals at high risk of COVID-19 were prioritized. We describe the temporal uptake and characteristics of COVID-19 vaccine recipients in Denmark.

Methods: Using nationwide healthcare registries, we identified all Danish residents ⩾5 years of age who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from 27 December 2020-29 January 2022. We charted the daily number of newly vaccinated individuals and the cumulative vaccine coverage over time, stratified by vaccine type, age groups and vaccination priority groups, and described characteristics of vaccine recipients during two-month-intervals and in vaccination priority groups.

Results: By 29 January 2022, 88%, 86% and 64% of Danish residents ⩾5 years (n=5,562,008) had received a first, second and third dose, respectively, of a COVID-19 vaccine, most commonly the BNT162b2 vaccine (84%). Uptake ranged from 48% in 5-11-year-olds to 98% in 65-74-year-olds. Individuals vaccinated before June 2021 were older (median age 61-70 years vs 10-35 years in later periods) and had more comorbidities such as hypertension (22-28% vs 0.77-2.8% in later periods), chronic lung disease (9.4-15% vs 3.7-4.6% in later periods) and diabetes (9.3-12% vs 0.91-2.4% in later periods).

Conclusions: We document substantial changes over time in, for example, age, sex and medical history of COVID-19 vaccine recipients. Though these results are related to the differential vaccine rollout in Denmark, similar findings are probable in other countries and should be considered when designing and interpreting studies on the effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

Keywords: COVID-19; COVID-19 vaccine; differential rollout; epidemiology; patient characteristics; population-based.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • BNT162 Vaccine
  • COVID-19 Vaccines*
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Vaccination


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • BNT162 Vaccine