The majority of people infected with the coronavirus develop only mild symptoms, but if you have underlying health conditions or are aged over 70, the disease could pose a serious threat. More than 3,200 people have so far died in Sweden after testing positive for the virus, according to the Public Health Agency.
The coronavirus, or Covid-19, is a new virus and there is no vaccine available. But scientists around the world are racing to develop one, and when they do, Stockholm health bosses want to be ready to act.
Region Stockholm's health department has been given the task of investigating how a mass immunisation campaign would be carried out.
“I think we should lead the way and prepare,” Ella Bohlin, a Christian Democrat councillor in charge of healthcare development in Stockholm, told the TT news agency.
“It is the right priority. Preparation is key in this pandemic,” she added.
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The inquiry is set to produce a report after the summer, which is also to answer the question of who should be responsible for organising an immunisation scheme. Most of Swedish healthcare is run on a regional level by Sweden's 21 administrative regions, but there are also bodies that could help facilitate a nationwide scheme.
Bohlin said she hoped the regions would not fight each other for access to a vaccine.
“I hope not, because I believe in equal care across the country. Without offering a conclusion before the inquiry is over, I think that some kind of national organisation will probably be needed,” she said.
In Region Kronoberg in southern Sweden, Roland Gustbée, chairman of the healthcare committee and a member of the Moderate Party, said it was too early to start planning for large-scale vaccinations.
“If the vaccine comes when most people are already immune, perhaps only elderly people should get vaccinated. We don't know that yet and that makes it hard to start planning now,” he told TT.