‘Enter a personal lockdown’: Swedish region’s warning over Covid-19 increase

UPDATED: The Uppsala region announced on Thursday that people who had already had Covid-19 would be given a single dose of the vaccine, six months after infection. But the region backtracked on this just a day later.

'Enter a personal lockdown': Swedish region's warning over Covid-19 increase
A sign in Uppsala urging people to keep a distance. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

“Two doses are not needed because one dose gives you as good protection against the disease as others receive after two doses,” the initial statement read on Thursday, adding that this would not apply to people who have a severely weakened immune system due to illness or treatment.

“Later, additional vaccine doses may be an option. You will then be informed about that.”

It also said that people who had been infected would have to wait for at least six months from the point when they tested positive to be offered the vaccine in Uppsala. It said they would be contacted by the region when their jab is due. It is possible in Sweden to get vaccinated in another region than the one you live in, so Uppsala residents could in theory get vaccinated somewhere else if they so choose.

Uppsala healthcare director Mikael Köhler said that these new rules apply to the current phase of vaccinations (Uppsala is in the second phase: over-65s, healthcare staff, and certain other risk groups and members of their household), and that they may be revised at a later stage.

“We have studied how immunity against Covid-19 works and feel safe in making our own decisions to get as good an effect as possible from the collective vaccination,” Köhler told a press conference about the decision to change the region’s rules for vaccinations.

Uppsala would have been the only one of Sweden’s 21 regions to offer two doses only to those who haven’t had a positive PCR test, but countries such as France and Spain have taken similar measures, although France offers the first dose three months after infection.

But on Friday the region made a U-turn, saying they would keep giving everyone two doses for now. Read the updated report HERE.

More than 42,000 people have received their first dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 in Uppsala. The region estimates that all its residents aged over 65 who want to get vaccinated will have received their first dose by May 1st.

Uppsala healthcare chief Mikael Köhler at another press conference. Photo: Nils Petter Nilsson/TT

The number of positive Covid-19 cases is on the increase in Uppsala, as is the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital and intensive care, and health officials warned people to be careful. Around 15 percent of all tests in Uppsala are coming back positive at the moment.

Köhler said that the workload in terms of testing and healthcare was “more strained than ever”. He said that they expected the situation to worsen for hospitals. “There is nothing that suggests anything else (…) all our information indicates it’s going to be worse in one to two weeks.”

“Enter a personal lockdown,” advised the region’s infectious disease doctor Johan Nöjd, urging people in the region to plan each day carefully, and think twice before going back to the office or meeting others. “Consider all human contacts as a potential risk.”

Uppsala officials on Thursday urged everyone in the region to:

  • If you get symptoms, stay at home and get tested
  • Keep at least two metres’ distance from other people, both indoors and outdoors
  • Don’t meet any new contacts and don’t organise parties
  • Work from home if you can
  • If you have to use public transport, use a face mask

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