The EU recommends that member states allow vaccinated travellers (at least those who have received a Covid vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency, EMA) to travel to their countries from outside the EU, but Sweden has so far not followed that principle.
When asked by The Local why not, a press spokesperson for Interior Minister Mikael Damberg told us on Wednesday: “I’ll get back to you as soon as we have the opportunity.”
But on Thursday, as the government re-added six countries including the US to its non-EU/EEA entry ban, it said it was “exploring the possibility” of exempting “fully vaccinated residents of certain third countries”, but offered no indication as to when that might happen.
“There are a number of countries with which Sweden has close relations. There, the government will now investigate the possibility of exempting fully vaccinated residents in certain third countries,” Interior Minister Mikael Damberg told the TT news agency on Thursday morning.
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“I am thinking primarily of the United Kingdom, but also the United States, even though the United States is more complex and many states have very different rules,” he said.
There was no more information immediately available, but the following Covid vaccines are EMA-authorised: Spikevax (Moderna), Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and Johnson & Johnson (also called Janssen). Covishield, India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, has not been approved by the EMA. It is up to individual EU states to decide whether or not to allow entry for people vaccinated with jabs enrolled on the WHO’s Emergency Use Listing, which Covishield is, but Damberg did not say anything about it.
The Swedish government on Thursday reimposed entry restrictions on travellers from the US, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and Northern Macedonia, based on an EU recommendation and effective from September 6th. These countries were previously exempt.
The entry ban since before also applies to the UK, which is no longer an EU country, as well as many other non-EU countries.
That doesn’t necessarily mean all travel from those countries is banned, as travellers may fall into another exempted category, such as travelling for urgent family reasons or if they have EU citizenship or a Swedish residence permit or residence status.
Sweden already allows vaccinated travellers with an EU Digital Covid Certificate to enter the country from another EU member state, and it currently has no restrictions at all in place for people travelling from the Nordics (Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland). That goes for everyone travelling via one of those countries, regardless of their original point of departure.