“If these vaccines work and are safe, it's possible that we will have vaccinated everyone who wants it next year, or at the start of 2022,” Richard Bergström told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
Sweden's government announced on Thursday that it expected to receive 6m doses, with the option of buying 2m more, from the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca under the company's deal with the EU.
The EU is also close to signing deals with Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi/Glaxo Smith Kline and Curevac, and is in discussions with Moderna Therapeutics and Pfizer/Biontech.
In total, it expects to have access to as many as 30m-50m doses a month in the first half of next year and up to 100m in the second half.
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Bergström later told Swedish state broadcaster SR that “if you are a pessimist and don't believe that all the vaccines are going to work, possibly it won't be more than 10m-12m doses next year, but it could be the 18m that I mentioned and it could even be more.”
However, he said that he believed that Sweden might reserve the first vaccines to come to market for special cases.
“I'm not certain that the first vaccines will be as effective for all patient groups,” Bergström said. “We don't want to use vaccines which don't provide sufficient protection, so there could be a delay until the winter of 2021, or 2022 before everyone can get vaccinated.”
He said that Sweden may wait until the second half of next year, when more tried and tested vaccine types, such as those being developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, are released, before vaccinating the majority of the population.
But he said that for risk groups, the country was also open to using an mRNA-based vaccine, such as those being developed by Pfizer/Biontech, Curevac and Moderna Therapeutics, or a viral vector vaccine, such as those being developed by Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
“We could possible have some people vaccinated in the first half of next year, with any luck before the summer,” he said.