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Surveillance Open Access
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Abstract

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic was of major concern in Greenland. There was a high possibility of rapid transmission in settlements, and an increased risk of morbidity and mortality because of comorbidities in the population and limited access to specialised healthcare in remote areas.

Aim

To describe the epidemiology of the COVID-19 pandemic in Greenland and evaluate the effects of a strict COVID-19 strategy until risk groups were immunised.

Methods

We studied the epidemiology during March 2020 to June 2022. We describe the non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), PCR-confirmed COVID-19 cases and vaccination coverage with data from the registries of the Greenlandic health authority.

Results

We found 21,419 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants (54% female, 46% male), 342 per 100,000 were hospitalised and 16 per 100,000 were admitted to the intensive care unit. The COVID-19 mortality rate was 39 per 100,000, all those affected were aged above 65 years. No excess overall mortality was observed. The vaccination coverage by June 2022 was 71.67 and 41% for one, two and three doses, respectively.

Conclusion

SARS-CoV-2 circulation in Greenland was low, given strict restrictions until all eligible inhabitants had been offered immunisation. The main impact of the pandemic was from May 2021 onwards with increasing numbers of confirmed cases. This occurred after introduction of the vaccine programme, which may have had an influence on the severity of the associated morbidity and mortality experienced. Halting community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 with NPIs until the majority of the population had been immunised was a successful strategy in Greenland.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.29.2200767
2023-07-20
2024-02-28
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.29.2200767
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