Statens Serum Institut & Danish Health Data Authority
In Denmark, health and prevention have always been paramount, and two remarkable initiatives, the Danish Vaccination Registry (DDV) and the Danish Childhood Vaccination Program, have set new standards for public health and collaboration in vaccinations.
The Danish Vaccination Registry (DDV) was established in response to increased demand for vaccination data from the healthcare sector and a recommendation to establish a national HPV vaccination registry. DDV was used as a prototype during the swine flu pandemic that hit Denmark in 2009/2010.
The initiative was developed to strengthen vaccination coverage by optimizing communication between authorities and citizens. DDV is part of the FMK program (Shared Medication Card), with SSI (Statens Serum Institut) as the system and data owner and SDS (Danish Health Data Authority) as the system administrator.
DDV enabled digital reminders and vaccination information to be sent, using digital post for the first time to reach citizens.
During a time of uncertainty and challenges, the Danish Vaccination Registry (DDV) played a crucial role in Denmark’s impressive handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. DDV proved to be an indispensable resource in ensuring that all citizens eligible for vaccination could be vaccinated, paving the way for Denmark’s success in combating the pandemic.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, DDV’s role expanded to include vaccination campaigns on an unprecedented scale, requiring extensive data and exceptional collaboration. DDV became essential in ensuring that millions of vaccination invitations were correctly reported and administered, both digitally and through physical letters.
This allowed authorities to have a clear overview of vaccination coverage and prioritize resources effectively. The digital reminders and messages DDV could send to citizens were crucial in informing and guiding them about COVID-19 vaccination opportunities.
In collaboration with Testcenter Danmark and vacciner.dk, the infrastructure established for COVID-19 vaccinations in 2022 was also used for influenza vaccinations. The scope was expanded, and the system was adapted to handle multiple types of vaccines. The ambition was higher vaccination coverage by offering simultaneous free vaccinations against Covid, Influenza, and Pneumococcal. This involved many templates and extensive testing to ensure high quality and error-free delivery of the many letters.
DDV has been a success with around 50,000,000 registered vaccines on 6.5 million citizens since its establishment. Of these, about 13.3 million are COVID-19 vaccinations.
With DDV, there is never any doubt about which vaccinations a citizen has received, and the registry enables more long-term benefits such as statistics and an overview of vaccination coverage in the population. This helps ensure a more effective and targeted effort for public health.
The Danish Childhood Vaccination Program has been operational since 1950, initially offering free vaccinations against diphtheria and tetanus, later expanding to include polio, whooping cough, and other serious diseases that annually cost children’s lives in Denmark. Several diseases are today eradicated, nearly eradicated, or rare due to the vaccination program, e.g., polio, measles, and rubella.
The European Agency for Health and Digitalization selected the Danish vaccination program as one of the top five initiatives in the project “Overcoming barriers to vaccination.” Initiatives such as digital reminder letters, training of health nurses as vaccination ambassadors, and vaccination information campaigns highlight Denmark as a leading country in the EU for childhood vaccinations.
The program, an example of “best practice” within the EU, impressed with its high participation and effective approach. Collaboration across health authorities such as Statens Serum Institut, the Danish Cancer Society, and the Professional Society for Health Nurses was crucial for the program’s success.
The Danish approach to a robust and accessible childhood vaccination program serves as inspiration and guidance for other European countries. The program exemplifies how a well-functioning collaborative culture and a targeted approach to vaccination programs can significantly influence public health and protect children’s health.
DDV and the Danish Childhood Vaccination Program are two sides of the same coin – strengthening public health in Denmark. Through efficient infrastructure and dedicated collaboration between health authorities and actors, these initiatives have worked hand in hand to improve vaccination efforts and protect the population’s health.
These initiatives extend beyond Denmark’s borders, serving as guidance and inspiration for countries worldwide seeking to enhance their vaccination efforts and protect citizens’ health.
DDV revolutionized vaccination communication by introducing digital post to send reminders and information about vaccinations, increasing citizens’ awareness and engagement.
DDV acts as a central hub for vaccination data, enabling accurate collection and management of millions of vaccinations, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DDV was a crucial resource during COVID-19, playing a central role in registering and monitoring vaccinations and providing digital updates to inform and guide citizens.
The Danish Childhood Vaccination Program has gained international recognition and is a “best practice” example with high participation thanks to collaboration between relevant health authorities.
Both DDV and the Danish Childhood Vaccination Program serve as inspiring models for how technology, collaboration, and targeted work can improve public health and vaccination success.