COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark has joined other European nations in offering a third COVID-19 vaccination shot to everyone over the age of 18 amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

The Danish Health Authority said Thursday the “decline in immunity is also happening for people in the younger age groups.”

Helene Probst, deputy head of the government agency, said “revaccination is offered at the same interval to everyone over 18 years of age.”

Denmark, like many other countries in Europe, has seen an uptick in infections, with health authorities saying the numbers of cases and hospitalizations have risen faster than expected.

“When we see the epidemic flare up right now, it is primarily due to the transition from summer to autumn and winter, and at the same time we have an open society with only a few restrictions. Combined with the fact that the effect of the vaccines decreases over time, it is expected that the infection will increase,” Probst said in a statement.

In Denmark, which already has offered booster shots to older people and the vulnerable, the third jab will now be offered to people six months after the second shot. Vaccination in the Scandinavian country is voluntary.

According to official figures, 88.4% in Denmark has gotten the first shot while 86.4% has been given the second jab.

Sweden recommended Wednesday that everyone between the ages of 18 and 65 should get a booster shot against COVID-19 six months after having received the second jab.

On Wednesday, the Danish government said it would seek support in parliament to reintroduce mandates for wearing face masks in public places and expand the use of the country’s COVID-19 digital pass. Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said that “the delta variant is far more contagious, and that challenges us.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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