“It is only through vaccination that we can go back to a more normal life,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who was joined at the press conference by Health Minister Lena Hallengren, Education Minister Anna Ekström and Public Health Agency general director Johan Carlson.
Sweden will follow other countries in offering the vaccine to children aged over 12 from early November, Löfven announced. The Covid-19 vaccine is currently available to everyone aged over 16 in Sweden, and in this age group 73 percent of people have received both doses.
“During the whole pandemic, we have been clear that schools should be the last thing to close [as part of restrictions aimed at curbing the virus] and the first thing to open. Despite that, teaching in universities and to some extent in upper secondary schools has to a large extent had to happen at a distance, partially or entirely. This has taught us how important it is for children’s wellbeing that schools are open and that teaching happens in person as much as possible,” said Education Minister Anna Ekström.
“The vaccine will protect children from serious illness, but it will also help us to keep the schools open,” she added.
In a statement, the Public Health Agency noted that children are at a lower risk of serious illness from Covid-19 than adults, but that the risk still exists. In Sweden alone, just under 250 children have been affected by so-called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children in connection with Covid-19.
Worldwide, around 20 million children over 12 have received one of the vaccines approved for use in this age group, with only extremely rare side effects reported in a small number of children.
The agency stated that the most important measure for reducing the spread of Covid-19, including among children, is for adults to continue to get vaccinated against the virus.