Sweden, like other EU states, is currently waiting for the European Medicines Agency to give the green light to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is expected to come next week.
The plan is for delivery to get under way on Christmas Eve, and for all member countries to start vaccinating on December 27th, although Sweden's vaccine coordinator Richard Bergström told Swedish public radio broadcaster SR on Thursday that vaccinations in Sweden could start as early as Boxing Day, December 26th.
Denmark has also said it could begin vaccinating against Covid-19 before December 27th if doses are ready in the country. “Although I'm a strong supporter of coordination at the European level, the vaccine will be delivered and distributed the moment it arrives on Danish soil,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday.
Sweden's first three priority groups, announced earlier this month, will be:
1. People who live in elderly care homes or receive at-home care, primarily those aged over 70
2. Healthcare and care workers who have close contact with vulnerable people
3. Other adults who share a household with people receiving at-home care
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In total, around 2.6 million Swedes belong to risk groups for the coronavirus, including people aged over 70 and those with certain pre-existing conditions.
These people would be next in line for the vaccine after the first three priority groups, followed by the rest of the general population. The vaccine will be free and voluntary.
At the moment there is no information about whether there will be a priority list for the rest of the population, and what this would look like if so. It is Sweden's 21 regions' responsibility to carry out vaccinations, so there may be slight differences around the country based on what best suits the local demographic and operating capacity.
Sweden has also, as part of the EU, signed agreements with pharmaceutical companies Astra Zeneca, Moderna, CureVac and Janssen (which is part of Johnson & Johnson) and plans to make a coronavirus vaccine available to all adults who live in Sweden, as well as under-18s who belong to another risk group, in the first six months of 2021.
The Local has asked the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions for clarification about what applies for people who normally pay full price for their healthcare in Sweden, such as non-EU citizens or EU citizens without an EHIC card.
If you belong to one of the three first priority groups, you or your caregiver or employer should be informed about the vaccine soon. Because the vaccinations will be organised at a regional level, once they get under way the best place to find information about what applies to you will likely be your region's website or the 1177 page for your region.