Briefing presented by Danes Worldwide to the Health and Senior Citizens’ Committee of the Danish Parliament

Danes Worldwide requests that Parliament urge health authorities in Denmark to include all Danish citizens – whether they live in Denmark or not – in Denmark’s vaccination program in an effort to contribute to the eventual resolution of the corona pandemic.

Request:

Danes Worldwide requests that Parliament urge health authorities in Denmark to include all Danish citizens – whether they live in Denmark or not – in Denmark’s vaccination program in an effort to contribute to the eventual resolution of the corona pandemic.

Background:

Danes living outside Denmark are not included in the national vaccine plans. Being foreigners in their countries of residence, they will typically not be included in local plans in that many countries pioritize their own citizens. Thus, they are without options.

In recent weeks, we have received a large number of inquiries from Danes living in 41 countries (see below and the appendix) who are concerned about not being able to get a vaccination.

Legal Aspects:

Danes in EU countries are, in principle, entitled to vaccinations where they live. This works well where national vaccination programs are in place; however not all EU countries are equally well organized, and we understand that quite a few Danes must wait 10-12 months or more for a vaccination in their country of residence.

Danes outside EU countries, in many cases, will not have access to vaccines in their counties of residence or as foreigners vill be “last in the queue”. Danes in such countries typically have health insurance covering visits to a doctor, hospitalization, medication, etc, but as in Denmark, they cannot purchase a vaccination, and thus they have nowhere to turn within the local health systems.  

In the middle of a pandemic, Denmark has secured about 20 million doses, easily providing for the entire population of Denmark (even at two doses per person). Therefore, Denmark has the capacity to support global efforts by, at a minimum, vaccinating all residents and all citizens regardless of their country of residence.

Financial Aspects:

Our members of course understand that they may need to pay for their vaccination.

Practical Aspects:

Danes Worldwide offers to work with health authorities to determine how best to administer the vaccinations (many expat Danes do not have a personal physician in Denmark and do not have a dedicated email address for receiving communications from Danish authorities) and how best to alert expat Danes.

Danish Chambers of Commerce abroad are supportive of the Danes Worldwide request:

Many chambers of commerce in Asia (covering Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), Argentina, Brazil, and the United States – and thus many Danish business organizations in those countries – share the concern about the lack of access to a corona vaccination.

About 250,000 Danes live outside Denmark, 50% of them in Europe, 23% in the United States, and 18% in Asia and Oceania (the remainder being in the rest of the world). These are Danes who provide a lot of value for Denmark by supporting industry in Denmark or internationally, working with international organizations, and being available whenever called upon by Denmark. They do so by making themselves available to offer their local know-how and access to their personal networks in support of e.g. Danish export and cultural initiatives and by acting as effective representatives of Denmark in promoting the country as an attractive investment target, a great vacation destination, and a wonderful place to live and work.

Concerned expats describe their lack of opportunities for access to a corona vaccine in their local areas:

Thailand

“Our family of 4 (our children are 16 and 17) has lived in Bangkok since January 2018. The chance of getting a vaccination in Thailand is extremely small. No specific vaccination program is in place, and it has been announced that foreigners will not be included in any case. We do not wish to jump to the front of the queue, but we hope we can purchase vaccinations when we visit Denmark.”

South Africa

“The richest countries in the world – including EU countries – have snagged most of the world’s supply of the Covid vaccine this year. This means that we in South Africa (just as it is the case in most developing countries) will not receive many vaccine doses this year – they are not even sufficient for health workers! In a country of 60 million residents, 500,000 vaccine doses …  If we and others in the same situation do not get access to a vaccination in Denmark, there’s a risk that we will kickstart another pandemic surge later this year.”

Brazil

“I live in Brazil, in Sao Paulo. I don’t think I need explain the vaccination situation here. It’s chaos.”

Peru

“I’m a Danish missionary, aged 64. Peru got started much too late with looking at vaccines due to the unstable political situation. Right now they have ordered 38 million doses of the Chinese vaccine, of which 1 million is en route … Peru being Peru, it’s difficult to know how it will turn out. But I don’t think I’ll be able to get a vaccination. I have been in Peru since March 2020 and continue working in the aid program. I chose to remain here when there was a chance to get a flight to Denmark as I knew there was a great need for aid here. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a solution for those of us who represent Denmark abroad!”

United States

“Our family in New Jersey will not likely be able to get vaccinations. We do not have green cards, and we are not American citizens; we hold visas. My husband suffers from reduced lung function, but that will not help our opportunity over here. It’s a chaotic situation, and it’s a poor system. We hope to be able to get our shots in Denmark once every else has had theirs.”