Swedish politicians call for Covid vaccine pass requirement

Sweden, unlike several other European countries, does not use vaccine passes domestically. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT
Politicians in Stockholm and southern Swedish region Skåne are now calling for vaccine passes to be introduced for use in wider society. They are currently only used for travel purposes in Sweden.

Anna Starbrink, the Liberal Party’s regional councillor for healthcare in Stockholm, as well as Amelie Tarschys Ingre, deputy group leader of the Liberal Party in Stockholm, are calling for vaccine passes to be introduced for double-vaccinated individuals.

In their proposal, Starbrink and Ingre refer to measures being taken in other countries with increasing infection rates, and the risk that infection in Sweden may also begin to rise again. They also mention the Coronavirus Commission’s recent report, which criticised the government for acting too slowly.

“The pandemic is far from over, infection rates are increasing dramatically in many neighbouring countries and in Sweden we are already seeing increased hospital admissions for Covid. We demand that the government act quickly to ensure that the Stockholm region and the whole country can remain open. This is why it needs to be made possible to use vaccine passes in society now. Sweden cannot make the same mistake again and wait too long to introduce infection control measures,” said Starbrink in a statement.

They argue that vaccine passes will encourage more people to get vaccinated, while ensuring that society can remain open. More than 85 percent of Sweden’s over-16 population have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, but health officials have said that they want to increase vaccine cover, especially in the 20-50 age group.

“Freedom should not be limited more than necessary. Those who have acted responsibly and been vaccinated should be able to move freely, but for those who have not taken both doses, restrictions may be necessary. That’s why a Covid pass should be introduced, which can then be used at those places and activities where it is deemed fit. In that way, we protect freedom, and increase motivation for more people to get vaccinated,” said Tarschys Ingre.

Starbrink and Ingre are not the first to call for vaccine passes in Sweden. Last week, two regional councillors for Skåne, Liberal Gilbert Tribo and Moderate Anna Mannfalk, also did so, referencing the Danish government’s decision to reintroduce the passes in the neighbouring country.

“People need to feel that they can continue to live in our newly reopened society. There’s a risk now that winter is coming that spread of infection will increase, and therefore we need to take responsibility on a national level and introduce corona passes,” said Mannfalk in a press statement.

Sara Byfors, an expert at the Swedish Public Health Agency, said in a press conference on November 11th that evidence in Denmark that the reintroduction of vaccine passes motivated the unvaccinated to get their injections could be “a reason for introducing vaccine passes in Sweden”, adding that a proposal to introduce vaccine passes had been prepared, “if we see that this is necessary”.

When asked about calls from politicians in Skåne to introduce vaccine passes in further areas of Swedish society, potentially including restaurants and theatres, Byfors said that the Public Health Agency are “looking at this as a possible measure, if we can see that it would have an effect on limiting the spread of infection and, above all, reduce pressure on healthcare”.

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