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Norwegian skis back from Sweden to avoid quarantine restrictions

A Norwegian who tried to ski around his country's virus quarantine system by skiing back from Sweden had to be rescued after bad weather thwarted his expedition, emergency services said on Monday.

Norwegian skis back from Sweden to avoid quarantine restrictions
View of the mountains in Åre, Sweden (archive). (Photo by OLIVIER MORIN / AFP)

“He wanted to return to Norway to get hold of some documents, and then go back into Sweden, where he has a construction project on the go,” Trond Helge Ronning of rescue group Norske Folkehjelp told AFP.

“But to avoid the quarantine, he decided to cross the border over the mountains,” said Ronning from Tydal, a village near the border with Sweden.

In all, it would have been a 40-kilometre (25-mile) journey over difficult terrain, he said.

But the adventurer, who is in his 50s, ran into bad weather after 25 kilometres of his trek on Saturday.

A local reindeer breeder rescued him, handing him over to two fishermen at a nearby lake, who looked after him until the rescue services arrived, said Ronning.

“He was soaked through and he was cold,” as well as being annoyed and unapologetic, said the rescue worker.

The rescue services took care of him — before handing him over to police for having violated the coronavirus quarantine rules.

Local police told AFP that the man should have got a negative Covid test to present to the authorities before making the crossing — and then spent 10 days in quarantine in a hotel.

“That’s valid even for a Norwegian citizen,” said a senior police official in the Trondelag district.

The man will now have to sit out his hotel quarantine before interviewed by officers.

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COVID-19

When should I get my next dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Sweden?

Covid-19 has not been classified as a "critical threat to society" in Sweden since April. But the Swedish Public Health Agency still recommends that everyone aged 12 and above get vaccinated. So when should you get your next dose?

When should I get my next dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Sweden?

As winter approaches, it’s a good time to check that you’re up to date on your booster shots.

If you’re aged 12 or older, the agency recommends that you should at least have completed your primary dose of the vaccine, which comprises two shots. Because vaccine efficacy wanes over time, if you are aged 18 and above, you should have already had your third dose.

The booster dose, called a påfyllnadsdos, can be administered a minimum of four months after the primary dose or the most recent booster. A booster shot is recommended even if you have tested positive for Covid-19 since your most recent vaccination, because the protection offered by a vaccine is more reliable than that offered by an infection.

The agency has also warned that the Omicron BA.5 variant spreads more easily than previous Covid-19 mutations.

Deliveries of two of the new vaccines targeting the new variant, Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.1 and Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1, have arrived in Sweden but have not yet reached all health regions, meaning it is not certain that if you will currently receive the updated vaccine. 

A third vaccine, an adapted version of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), is expected to arrive in Sweden in October. 

READ ALSO: When will the new Covid-19 vaccines be available in Sweden?

The höstdosen, or “autumn vaccine”

On September 1, the agency issued new guidelines for a höstdosen, or autumn vaccine dose.

During the campaign, all adults aged 18 and over who belong to an at-risk group are recommended to get a booster dose, as are seniors aged 65 and above. 

Risk categories include people who are pregnant, have a weakened immune system, have heart and lung diseases, or have Down syndrome.

You can get the autumn booster regardless of how many vaccine doses you may have received, which means it might be a fourth shot for some people, and a fifth for others.

The autumn vaccine is also available for those aged 18-64 who do not fall into any of the at-risk categories but would like a fourth dose. The Swedish Public Health Agency has said that regional health providers must make booster doses available to those who want them.

Chart showing recommended vaccination schedules. Chart: Folkhälsomyndigheten

Chart showing recommended vaccination schedules. Chart: Swedish Public Health Agency

How do I get an appointment for the autumn dose? 

Region Stockholm has been offering appointments for an autumn vaccination to everyone over 18 since September 12th. You can book a dose through the Alltid Öppet app

In Region Skåne, the region responsible for healthcare in Malmö and Lund, appointments for an autumn vaccine have been available since August 22nd. Appointments are available for vaccinations in Region Stockholm, as are drop-in times at locations listed on 1177.se.

In Region Västergötland, the region responsible for healthcare in Gothenburg, health centres, or vårdcentraler, are prioritising people aged 80 and older.

Those in other categories, including at-risk adults 18 and older and seniors over 65, are requested to make their vaccination appointments with other providers through 1177.se

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