More people in Sweden to be offered a Covid-19 booster shot

The Swedish Public Health Agency has announced that a third Covid-19 vaccine dose will be offered to all over-80s and some other vulnerable groups.

Covid-19 vaccine booster dose
Third doses of Covid-19 vaccines are now being offered to some at-risk groups. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Those who will be eligible for a third vaccination shot include nursing home residents, those with at-home care, and all over 80 years old, if their last dose was over six months ago, according to the agency’s latest guidelines.

This is in addition to those with weak immune systems due to illness or treatment, who have already begun receiving booster shots. 

In its statement, the agency said the decision to offer more third doses was due both to Swedish and international data suggesting that the protective effect from vaccines declines over time, as well as an increase in the number of reported breakthrough infections (where people catch Covid-19 despite being double vaccinated) among nursing home residents. 

Booster shot administration will be organised on a regional level, with the Public Health Agency recommending that the doses are coordinated with flu vaccines.

The Public Health Agency have not ruled out offering booster shots to more groups, stating that they are monitoring the effect of the vaccine in other groups and may decide to extend the booster shot offer if necessary.

Johan Carlson, General Director of the Public Health Agency, said the following: “Our experience so far has taught us that vaccination against Covid-19 is very effective against serious illness and death. Looking at current developments, it is reasonable to start giving extra protection to the oldest and most vulnerable who were vaccinated first and have a weaker immune system.”

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Sweden opens up fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine for over-80s

Sweden's Public Health Agency is now recommending a fourth vaccine dose for care home residents, recipients of at-home care, and over 80s, to be given at least four months after dose three.

Sweden opens up fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine for over-80s

Despite recently removing almost all Covid-19-related restrictions, the pandemic is still ongoing in Sweden, with the Public Health Agency describing the spread of infection in a press release as “intensive”.

There has also been an increase in the number of cases in groups of the population with an increased risk for serious illness, such as care home residents. 

In addition to this, the immune system’s ability to react to vaccinations and build up long-term protection against the virus becomes less effective with age.

In response to this, the Public Health Agency is now recommending that Swedish regions offer a second booster dose – representing a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine – to the following at-risk groups:

  • care home residents
  • recipients of at-home care
  • over 80s

Regions will be able to offer the dose four months after the first booster dose (dose three), at the earliest, starting from next week.

“A booster dose strengthens protection against the virus,” said state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell in a statement. “Therefore, we believe that people aged 80 and over will benefit from a second booster dose.”

First booster doses are available for over-18s in all Swedish regions. If you have not had yours yet and want to know how to book in your region, see The Local’s guide HERE.