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COVID-19

New Swedish Covid-19 guidelines from November: no tests for double vaccinated

The Swedish Public Health Agency has announced a change in the Covid-19 guidelines. From November 1st, fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to take a Covid-19 test before returning to work after they recover – with a few exceptions.

Vaccine bottles being filled
New recommendations may reduce time at home for double-vaccinated. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The new guidelines also apply to people who have recently been infected with Covid-19 and children under six.

“You should feel better and back to your normal self, even if you still have some respiratory symptoms. For most people this means you should stay at home for at least a few days, but often up to a week” said Karin Tegmark Wisell, deputy state epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, at a press conference.

Although tests are no longer required for these people, the Public Health Agency still recommends that people with symptoms of respiratory infections stay at home until they feel better, returning to work, school or preschool once they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours. This is also to help avoid spreading other respiratory illnesses such as RSV virus (a common winter virus mainly affecting children) and influenza.

Unvaccinated individuals should follow previous recommendations to take a Covid-19 test and stay at home while waiting for an answer if experiencing symptoms.

The recommendation to take a Covid-19 test and stay at home while waiting for an answer if experiencing respiratory symptoms also still applies to healthcare and care home workers, those working with the elderly, elderly people receiving at-home care, and people receiving treatment for suspected Covid-19.

People who know or suspect that they may have been infected should also still follow recommendations to get tested – even if they are fully vaccinated.

The Public Health Agency stated that the new measures were due to the level of vaccination coverage in Sweden, which is said had lowered the risk of serious consequences of Covid-19, as well as the risk of spreading the virus.

As of Thursday, 84.4 percent of Sweden’s over-16 population had had one dose, and 79.4 percent two doses.

Member comments

  1. “People who know or suspect that they may have been infected should also still follow recommendations to get tested – even if they are fully vaccinated.”
    This is confusing – so if you have been in close contact with somebody who did get the virus, you should get tested (even if you’ve been vaccinated?)

    Then is the no tests necessary for vaccinated people only for those who get cold like symptoms without any clear contagion route?
    I’m not sure why they keep the quoted recommendation. It’s just even more confusing.

    1. Hi, yes, that is also our understanding. Fully vaccinated people who develop symptoms in general don’t have to get tested according to the new recommendations (but should still stay at home), but fully vaccinated people who know they have been exposed to the virus (for example if they’ve been in close contact with someone with confirmed Covid or have been contacted by contact tracers) should still get tested.

  2. Are people wearing masks in Sweden? I’m coming to Stockholm late February and. I’m so used to it here in the US.

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READER QUESTIONS

When will the new Covid-19 vaccines be available in Sweden?

The European Commission has recently approved three new Covid-19 vaccines, targeting both the original virus and the dominating Omicron variants. When are these expected to be available in Sweden?

When will the new Covid-19 vaccines be available in Sweden?

The first vaccines, approved on September 1st, are the Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.1 and Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1. These are booster vaccines which will be available for those aged 12 and above who have completed one course of the vaccine against Covid-19.

These two vaccines are designed to target the original strain of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, as well as the Omicron BA.1 subvariant.

Deliveries of this vaccine have recently started to arrive in Sweden, although it may take a few weeks before doses have been distributed to each of Sweden’s regions.

The third vaccine, approved on September 12th, is an adapted version of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), designed to target the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 in addition to the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. These are the two variants which have dominated Covid-19 infections in Sweden this summer.

“The vaccine contains half the original vaccine and half of a vaccine for the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5,” vaccine coordinator Charlotta Bergquist at the Swedish Medical Products Agency told TT newswire.

This vaccine is also a booster vaccine, available to those aged 12 and above who have already completed one full course of Covid-19 vaccination.

The Public Health Agency expect delivery of this second vaccine to commence in October.

You don’t need to wait for the new vaccine

From September 1st, those with an increased risk of severe illness due to Covid-19, as well as pregnant women and those over the age of 65 have been eligible for booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in preparation for the autumn and winter season.

However, the Public Health Agency does not recommend that those who are currently eligible for a booster dose wait until the new vaccines have been delivered, rather that they should take their booster dose with the current vaccine as planned.

“People don’t need to wait for the updated vaccines,” Sören Andersson, head of department at the Public Health Agency said.

“We deem them to be equal when it comes to protection against serious illness and death,” he continued.

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