Stockholm pushes back Covid-19 vaccine deadline

Stockholm pushes back Covid-19 vaccine deadline
Empty vials of the Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Stockholm does not expect to meet Sweden's target of offering the Covid-19 vaccine to all adults by the end of June.

The Swedish government last week doubled down on the country's goal to offer the Covid-19 vaccine to all over-18s by the end of June, despite pharmaceutical companies delivering some vaccines later than expected.

But Stockholm has already postponed its target by a few weeks and now aims to vaccinate Stockholmers by mid-July, writes the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

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“Because of delayed deliveries, we expect to finish by mid-July, not by Midsummer. But these are preliminary estimates. Half a million of the doses we're counting on getting come from Curevac and Johnson, and those have not yet been approved by the European authority EMA,” Désirée Pethrus, a Christian Democrat politician and the Stockholm councillor responsible for healthcare development in the Swedish capital region, told DN.

By the end of the week ending February 7th, 2.65 percent of Stockholm's adult population had received their first vaccine dose, the slowest rate in all of Sweden's 21 regions. The nationwide figure stood at 3.89 percent in the same week.

Stockholm expects to start Phase 2 of the vaccination programme – which includes over-65s – in mid-March, Pethrus told DN, followed by Phase 3 in April and Phase 4 in May.

This is Sweden's current vaccination plan:

Phase 1:  People who live in elderly care homes or receive at-home care, as well as healthcare and care workers who have close contact with vulnerable people and other adults who share a household with people receiving at-home care.

This is the phase that got under way in December 2020.

Phase 2: This phase will include all adults aged over 65, starting with the oldest. The AstraZeneca vaccine is currently only recommended in Sweden for people younger than 65, so it is mainly planned for the next phases.

People with certain medical conditions have been added to this category, including those on dialysis or recent transplant recipients, and other adults who share a household with them.

People aged 18 and above who receive LSS disability support, and people working in the medical and care sectors who have close contact with patients are also included in this phase.

Phase 3: This phase includes 18-64-year-olds who belong to a risk group, for example people with chronic cardiovascular disease or diabetes, and it now also includes all adults aged 60-64, even those who do not belong to a risk group. 

As well as the groups at high risk of serious illness from Covid-19, this phase will also include people who belong to groups which may have trouble following the national recommendations to reduce the risk of infection. This includes for example people with dementia or Down Syndrome and homeless people.

Phase 4: This phase includes the remaining adult population, aged 18-59, who do not belong to a risk group.


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