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COVID-19

Infection rates rising as Sweden scraps last Covid-19 restrictions

Covid-19 infection rates are on the rise again in Europe, thanks to the new omikron BA.2 variant. In the meantime, another variant called deltakron is also starting to spread.

Public Health Agency Director General Karin Tegmark Wisell speaking at a press conference.
Public Health Agency Director General Karin Tegmark Wisell speaking at a press conference. Photo: Claudio Bresciani / TT

According to Niklas Arnberg, Professor in virology at Umeå University, more than 90 percent of positive tests now show traces of the new variant. BA.2 is more contagious than BA.1, but only causes mild symptoms for most people.

An even newer variant, deltakron, was discovered in France in January this year, and has now been identified in five other countries, including Denmark and the United Kingdom.

“We don’t know much about the severity of deltakron yet, but I don’t think there’s any reason to worry,” Arnberg told the TT newswire. “Deltakron is just a variant of two variants we already know.”  

He said deltakron might already be present in Sweden, even through the weekly report from the Public Health Agency hasn’t yet confirmed any cases. There are no indications so far that the vaccine would not work properly against deltakron, he said.

The wide spread of the new variant comes as Sweden’s pandemic law, and other additional laws regarding the virus are set to be removed on April 1st.

Karin Tegmark Wisell, general director at the Public Health Agency in Sweden, told SVT that the pandemic was still ongoing and that everyone should make sure to live with it in a balanced way. 

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COVID-19

When should I get my next dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Sweden?

Covid-19 has not been classified as a "critical threat to society" in Sweden since April. But the Swedish Public Health Agency still recommends that everyone aged 12 and above get vaccinated. So when should you get your next dose?

When should I get my next dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Sweden?

As winter approaches, it’s a good time to check that you’re up to date on your booster shots.

If you’re aged 12 or older, the agency recommends that you should at least have completed your primary dose of the vaccine, which comprises two shots. Because vaccine efficacy wanes over time, if you are aged 18 and above, you should have already had your third dose.

The booster dose, called a påfyllnadsdos, can be administered a minimum of four months after the primary dose or the most recent booster. A booster shot is recommended even if you have tested positive for Covid-19 since your most recent vaccination, because the protection offered by a vaccine is more reliable than that offered by an infection.

The agency has also warned that the Omicron BA.5 variant spreads more easily than previous Covid-19 mutations.

Deliveries of two of the new vaccines targeting the new variant, Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.1 and Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1, have arrived in Sweden but have not yet reached all health regions, meaning it is not certain that if you will currently receive the updated vaccine. 

A third vaccine, an adapted version of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), is expected to arrive in Sweden in October. 

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

The höstdosen, or “autumn vaccine”

On September 1, the agency issued new guidelines for a höstdosen, or autumn vaccine dose.

During the campaign, all adults aged 18 and over who belong to an at-risk group are recommended to get a booster dose, as are seniors aged 65 and above. 

Risk categories include people who are pregnant, have a weakened immune system, have heart and lung diseases, or have Down syndrome.

You can get the autumn booster regardless of how many vaccine doses you may have received, which means it might be a fourth shot for some people, and a fifth for others.

The autumn vaccine is also available for those aged 18-64 who do not fall into any of the at-risk categories but would like a fourth dose. The Swedish Public Health Agency has said that regional health providers must make booster doses available to those who want them.

Chart showing recommended vaccination schedules. Chart: Folkhälsomyndigheten

Chart showing recommended vaccination schedules. Chart: Swedish Public Health Agency

How do I get an appointment for the autumn dose? 

Region Stockholm has been offering appointments for an autumn vaccination to everyone over 18 since September 12th. You can book a dose through the Alltid Öppet app

In Region Skåne, the region responsible for healthcare in Malmö and Lund, appointments for an autumn vaccine have been available since August 22nd. Appointments are available for vaccinations in Region Stockholm, as are drop-in times at locations listed on 1177.se.

In Region Västergötland, the region responsible for healthcare in Gothenburg, health centres, or vårdcentraler, are prioritising people aged 80 and older.

Those in other categories, including at-risk adults 18 and older and seniors over 65, are requested to make their vaccination appointments with other providers through 1177.se

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