People at increased risk of severe covid-19

This gives people at increased risk an overview of infection prevention measures and options for treatment.

Updated: 15 September 2023

For the vast majority of us, a covid-19 infection is mild and harmless, but some elderly and vulnerable people may become so ill that they need hospitalisation. It is still important, therefore, to take care of the vulnerable. The Danish Health Authority has provided much more information about people at increased risk here:

Covid-19 test, symptoms, and early treatment (

Who is at increased risk?

Whether you are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from covid-19 depends, among other things, on whether you have other diseases or are otherwise weakened. There are also other factors that can be important, such as old age, in particular. The risk of becoming seriously ill from covid-19 will decrease once you are vaccinated.

Below you can see who is at increased risk of becoming seriously ill if they get covid-19.

Persons aged 80 years or older

Regardless of whether you are healthy or have chronic diseases and conditions, you are at increased risk.

Persons aged 65-79 years

Many healthy and fit people in this age group are not at increased risk, but if you have chronic diseases, for example, or mental and physical impairment, etc., then you may be at increased risk. Old age increases the risk of severe illness.

Persons under the age of 65

Very few are at increased risk, but people in this age group with certain chronic diseases, hard-to-control chronic diseases, overweight with BMI of 35 or over, and/or impaired immune systems are considered to be at increased risk.

Some children and adolescents with chronic disease

Children and adolescents with severely impaired immune systems or other serious chronic conditions may be at increased risk. For these children, special precautions were also in place before the covid-19 epidemic, e.g. special conditions in connection with schooling/day care. These children are usually monitored in special outpatient clinics, and thereby receive individual assessment and advice. Due to their young age, even seriously ill children will normally have a mild covid-19 infection.

Residents of care homes

Residents of care homes are at increased risk as they are often elderly and have chronic diseases, disabilities and fragile health.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women are at increased risk - not only the pregnant woman but also the unborn child.

For a detailed description of who is at increased risk, including descriptions of which diseases and conditions are believed to cause an increased risk, see:

People at increased risk from covid-19 - Professional basis ( - in Danish)

If you are unsure whether you are at increased risk, talk to your doctor.

Good advice if you are at increased risk

If you already took special precautions in your everyday life before the covid-19 epidemic to avoid becoming infected with other diseases, e.g. due to an impaired immune system, you are still recommended to do so. The vaccines give good protection, especially against serious illness, but they are not 100% effective.

Good advice if you are at increased risk:

  • Take up offers of vaccination.
  • Follow the Danish Health Authority's general advice for preventing infection, and ask others to be considerate.
  • You may want to consider wearing a face mask or face shield if it makes you feel more comfortable.
  • If you develop symptoms of covid-19 and feel ill, you should get a test as soon as possible, as you may be in the target group for early treatment for covid-19. If your test is positive, you should contact your own doctor to find out what your options for treatment are.
  • Contact your own doctor or the doctor who treats you if you are in doubt about how to proceed as regards your overall situation.

Early treatment of covid-19

If you are infected with a new coronavirus, have symptoms and are at increased risk of serious illness, you may be in the target group for early treatment which may reduce the risk of serious illness with covid-19.

If you think you may be in the target group, it is important you contact your own doctor as soon as you have tested positive, as the treatment must be given soon after you have developed symptoms to have any effect.

You may be in the target group for early treatment if you meet all four of the criteria below:

It can be a positive PCR test, rapid antigen-test or self-test.

  • People aged 80 years or above
  • People aged 65-79 with, for example, chronic diseases or reduced mental and physical health, etc.
  • People under the age of 65 with certain chronic diseases, overweight with an body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more, and/or who have a weakened immune system
  • Certain children and young people who may have an increased risk are typically those who were already subject to special precautions before the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic
  • Residents in nursing homes, as they are often elderly and have chronic diseases, poor functional ability and fragile health
  • Pregnant women

For more information: Covid-19 test, symptoms, and early treatment - Danish Health Authority (

Significant symptoms of covid-19 are symptoms such as fever, persistent cough and difficulty breathing where you also feel sick.

Your doctor has assessed that the treatment is safe for you

There may be situations where you cannot get early treatment even if you meet the criteria. For example, you may be given some medicine that must not be given together with the treatment for covid-19. You can talk to your doctor about what applies to you.

Early treatment of covid-19 ( - in Danish)

Infection prevention measures for social services, home care and nursing homes, etc.

In order for the elderly and vulnerable to be taken care of, there are still a number of infection prevention measures in the area.

If you work in the health, social or care sector, it is important that you use protective equipment for those tasks it is recommended for.

Actions in this area:

  • If an employee finds that a resident at a nursing home, residential accommodation or other similar institution has symptoms of covid-19, the resident should be tested if they are in the risk group for serious illness with covid-19 and are in the target group of early treatment. Staff should monitor the resident’s condition. Employees should use personal protective equipment as described in Chapter 4. If there are infections at nursing homes, follow the Danish Health Authority’s recommendations on how to prevent infection as described in this pamphlet: Guidance on the prevention of infection of the novel coronavirus in care homes, residential accommodation, etc., and in home care ( - in Danish)
  • If someone in the home care system has covid-19 symptoms, dialogue will be initiated with the person in question about what is going to happen next and if there is a need to contact their own doctor/the medical hotline/1813 or help getting a test.
  • If a home-care patient is found to be positive for covid-19, contact a doctor for an opinion on possibly treatment using tablets. Treatment with tablets should be initiated within the first five days following infection. The person’s own doctor can prescribe the treatment or refer them to the relevant hospital department. 1813 can be contacted on weekends and holidays.
  • In addition, there is a general recommendation to follow the Danish Health Authority’s advice on how to prevent infection which encourages people to stay at home in case of illness, cleaning especially of contact surfaces, focus on venting and ventilation, cough and sneeze into your sleeve and good hand hygiene.

Good advice for relatives

You can do several things to protect your relatives who are at increased risk.

  • If you live with a person at increased risk, you are advised to be sure to follow the Danish Health Authority's general advice on infection prevention.
  • If you're worried about whether you have covid-19 or would like to know for some other reason, for example if you live with someone who is at increased risk, you might consider taking a self-test. From 1 April 2023, PCR tests in the public testing scheme are no longer available.

Read more about the Danish Health Authority's general advice to prevent infection (


From 1 October, everyone over the age of 65 can be vaccinated against influenza and covid-19. In addition, younger people who are at risk of a serious illness can be vaccinated against both diseases.

The Danish Health Authority recommends that you get vaccinated if you are over 65 or are at increased risk of a serious illness.

You can find more information here (information in Danish):

Disse personer anbefales vaccination mod influenza og covid-19 (

Invitation: Offer of vaccination against covid-19 and influenza (pdf)

The workplace

The vast majority of people in the high-risk group can go to work as normal if the Danish Health Authority’s measures for preventing infection can be complied with at the workplace. If you are at particular risk and work, for example, at a location with a high risk of infection or which has a combination of risk factors such as certain chronic illnesses, or if you are severely overweight or pregnant, it may be necessary to take special precautions.

If needed, you can contact the doctor at the hospital or your own doctor to get a specific assessment of your risk at the workplace.

You can also talk to your employer about whether any changes need to be made to your work tasks or working conditions, so that infection is prevented as far as possible and you can feel safe when going to work. If you are in doubt about conditions at your workplace and your rights, etc., you can get advice from trade unions.