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COVID-19

Here’s what we do and don’t know about Sweden’s Covid-19 vaccine pass

Sweden's government and eHealth Agency on Wednesday presented plans for a vaccine pass to facilitate travel within the EU.

Here's what we do and don't know about Sweden's Covid-19 vaccine pass
It will be possible to get Sweden's vaccine pass from the start of July. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The vaccine pass will be in place across the EU from July 1st, meaning that travellers who are vaccinated can use this to avoid other restrictions within the EU such as requirements for negative tests or quarantine.

In order to get the Swedish version, you will be able to apply for the pass from July 1st at the website www.covidbevis.se. This requires a digital ID, such as BankID, but the website will also have instructions on how to apply using a paper form, for people without the digital ID.

At a government press conference announcing the developments, ministers emphasised that although the pass will facilitate free movement within the EU, it is still important for all travellers to research rules and restrictions in their destination country before departure. 

To begin with, the pass will only show whether or not you have been vaccinated against Covid-19, and how many doses of the vaccine you have received – it is up to each individual country to decide if they will accept travellers with both doses or only one. In the future, the eHealth Agency plans to expand the system so that the pass can also show a recent Covid-19 test result or proof of recently catching and recovering from the disease. Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren said these should be added in by around mid-July.

The Local’s editor Emma Löfgren asked if people vaccinated in Sweden who do not have a personnummer will get the pass.

“To register in the vaccine registry, you either need to have a Swedish personnummer or a coordination number [samordningsnummer]. So if you do not have a Swedish personnummer, you need a coordination number in order to receive the certificate and from July 1st, you also must use the manual method, as the technical solution is not built yet for those using a coordination number. But they can, as mentioned, use the form instead,” said Annemieke Ålenius from the eHealth Agency.

We asked what applies to people without either number, who are given a reserve number rather than either of the other two, but could not get an immediate clarification. Ålenius said reserve numbers are given out on a regional level and are not part of a central system, so this would be examined in future weeks. “We’ll take this question on board and get back to you,” she said.

People who have received one vaccine dose overseas and the second in Sweden will be eligible for the pass, and the key thing is to make sure the vaccine provider is aware of your first dose when you get it (you should take the documentation you have, showing the type of vaccine you received) so that your second dose is marked as such.

But when it comes to Swedish residents who received both their doses outside the EU, Ålenius said Sweden had not yet taken a decision on whether vaccine passes would be issued to these people.

“We will have to come back to this issue, let me just say that if one has been vaccinated abroad they most likely will have systems in place there to facilitate this. We will return to the issue,” said Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren, who added that the pass would only be issued to people who had been given those vaccines also approved for use in the EU.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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