More than 30 percent of Stockholmers are not yet fully vaccinated against Covid-19, said regional authorities in a press release on Wednesday. The capital region now wants to step up efforts to increase the vaccination rate by opening more drop-in hours.
“We want to help more people reduce the risk of falling seriously ill. Anyone who has received both doses also reduces their risk of infecting family, relatives, colleagues and friends. The pandemic now mainly affects people, groups and areas that are not fully vaccinated,” said Stockholm’s vaccine coordinator Magnus Thyberg in a statement.
“We have had mobile units in areas with lower vaccination coverage and at upper secondary schools which have offered vaccination without booking. In our experience, it has been so successful that we are ready to expand the possibility of vaccinations without prior booking at certain vaccination clinics, too,” he added.
Sweden and Stockholm offer the Covid-19 vaccines for free to everyone, including people who do not have a Swedish social security number, the ubiquitous personnummer. But many readers of The Local have told us during the pandemic that they have struggled to book their vaccine appointment nevertheless, with doctor’s officers and health advice hotlines not always being able to help advise them.
It has been possible to get vaccinated without booking an appointment at the region’s mobile units, but these have so far mainly been concentrated to certain suburbs of the city. Details were scarce on Wednesday afternoon, but the opening of more drop-in times may make it easier for those foreign residents who have previously fallen between the bureaucratic gaps to get access to their Covid-19 vaccine.
Stockholm is not the first region in Sweden to offer drop-in vaccination, but it is the most populous. Stockholm health officials said they would also increase the region’s number of mobile vaccine units to seven and offer students the possibility of getting vaccinated at their universities. They said a full list of the centres that offer drop-in vaccination would be available via 1177.se in due course.