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VACCINATION

Stockholm starts Phase 4 of Covid-19 vaccinations

The Stockholm region has started the fourth phase of vaccinations against Covid-19, with adults aged 55-59 now able to book their slot.

Stockholm starts Phase 4 of Covid-19 vaccinations
Vaccinations in an old gym hall in Rinkeby, northern Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

In Phase 4, all adults will be offered the vaccine, but it will still be offered in a staggered way, opened up to five-year age groups at a time.

That means that to begin with, people aged 55-59 will be able to book appointments, a group of around 150,000 people or around a tenth of the entire Phase 4 cohort.

The region does not currently have a timetable of when the vaccine will be offered to the next age group, as this depends both on how many doses arrive to the region and uptake of available slots.

Two companies that run vaccination centres in the capital region, Kry and Doktor 24, told the TT newswire they did not get any advance notice that the region would be starting the next phase.

“It would have been good to have a little foresight so that we could have scaled up the capacity,” said Sara Dannborg, communications manager at Doktor 24.

Both companies had also opened “reserve lists” where people aged over 45 can sign up to be informed of any extra availability, but as of Thursday morning both reserve lists had been closed due to high demand.

When the booking first opened, the surge in demand caused problems for booking app Alltid Öppet (Always Open).

“It is very high pressure because the media incorrectly informed that phase 4 is open to all age groups,” Maria Ahlmark, who is responsible for the app, told the TT newswire. She said work was underway to boost the app’s capacity, and encouraged anyone who had been unable to book via the app to try again, if they are in the right age group.

At the moment, Stockholm has capacity to vaccinate 75,000 people per week, but expects to receive many more doses than this over the next two weeks.

Stockholm is the first big city region to start Phase 4, after Kalmar, Jönköping and Värmland began it earlier this week. In Västra Götaland, some individual centres have opened up vaccination to under-60s, with Skåne saying it aims to offer the vaccine to all adults from mid-June onwards.

How do I book my vaccine in Stockholm?

In Stockholm, you can either book a time by downloading the app Alltid Öppet, or by calling the booking phone number.

The number to book in English is 08 428 429 20, which is available between 8am and 7pm on weekdays. Find out information about booking times in other languages from 1177.se.

To book via the app you need an online ID, in other words BankID or Freya e-id. That isn’t necessary for the phone booking service, but you do need a Swedish personal number (personnummer) for that.

If you do not have a personnummer, the region advises you to contact your doctor’s office (vårdcentral) directly.

In other regions, the process differs slightly, so you should check the 1177 page for your region or contact your doctor directly.

If you experience problems with booking your Covid-19 vaccine, or have a question that isn’t addressed here, please contact us at [email protected] with the subject ‘Covid-19 vaccine’ and we will do our best to help.

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COVID-19

Covid deaths in Sweden ‘set to rise in coming weeks’

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has warned that the number of weekly Covid deaths is set to rise, after the number of people testing positive for the virus rose for the sixth week running.

Covid deaths in Sweden 'set to rise in coming weeks'

According to the agency, an average of 27 people have died with or from the virus a week over the past three weeks. 

“According to our analyses, the number who died in week 27 (July 4th-July 11th), is more than died in week 26 and we expect this to continue to grow,” the agency wrote in a report issued on Thursday. 

In the week ending July 17th (week 28), 4,700 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, a 22 percent rise on the previous week. 

“We are seeing rising infection levels of Covid-19 which means that there will be more people admitted to hospital, and even more who die with Covid-19,”  said Anneli Carlander, a unit chief at the agency. “The levels we are seeing now are higher than they were last summer, but we haven’t reached the same level we saw last winter when omicron was spreading for the first time.” 

While 27 deaths a week with for from Covid-19 is a rise on the low levels seen this spring, it is well below the peak death rate Sweden saw in April 2020, when more than 100 people were dying a day. 

The number of Covid deaths recorded each week this summer. Source. Public Health Agency of Sweden
A graph of Covid deaths per day since the start of the pandemic shows that the current death rate, while alarming, remains low. Photo: Public Health Agency of Sweden

Carlander said that cases were rising among those in sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and also elderly people given support in their own homes, groups which are recommended to get tested for the virus if they display symptoms. The infection rate among those given support in their homes has risen 40 percent on last week. 

This week there were also 12 new patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 in Sweden’s hospitals.  

The increase has come due to the new BA.5 variant of omicron, which is better able to infect people who have been vaccinated or already fallen ill with Covid-19. Vaccination or a past infection does, however, give protection against serious illness and death. 

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