Sweden introduces COVID vaccine pass for indoor events

Amanda Lind (on screen), Minister of Culture and Democracy, Lena Hallenglen, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, and Karin Tegmark Wisel, Secretary of Public Health in Sweden, to curb the epidemic of coronavirus disease in Stockholm. Attended a press conference on the new regulations in Stockholm. November 17, 2021. (Via Jessica Gau / TT News Agency / Reuters)

Stockholm — The Swedish government plans to introduce the requirements for the COVID-19 vaccine pass at an indoor event attended by more than 100 people. This is a step recommended by health authorities to warn of an increasing trend of infection in the coming weeks.

Infection rates have skyrocketed across Europe in recent weeks, and Sweden (which was hit hard in the early days of the pandemic) has not yet recorded a similar surge, but Health Organization modeling shows that the infection was in mid-December. It suggests that it will reach its peak.

The centre-left government was preparing a bill to be submitted to Congress from December 1st with the aim of enacting a vaccination pass, Health Minister Lena Hallengren said.

“Spreads are widening in Europe. I haven’t seen it in Sweden yet, but I’m not isolated,” he said at a press conference. “You must be able to use your vaccination certificate.”

The Swedish health agency said earlier Wednesday that it would overturn a widely criticized decision to stop recommending tests to people who were completely vaccinated but who had symptoms of COVID-19.

About 85% of Swedes over the age of 16 have been vaccinated once, and 82% have been vaccinated more than once.

According to OurWorldinData, Sweden currently has the lowest number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and intensive care units in the European Union compared to the size of its population, but has been hit hard by previous waves.

Sweden has opposed the blockade and has relied primarily on voluntary measures aimed at keeping it socially distant. The number of deaths per capita is higher than in neighboring countries in Scandinavia, but less than in most European countries that have opted for a strict blockade.

Some aspects of Sweden’s response to the pandemic, including inadequate inspection, have been strongly criticized by the government-appointed COVID-19 Commission.

By Helena Soderpalm and Johan Ahlander