Sweden delays vaccine target: All adults to be offered one dose by mid-August

Sweden delays vaccine target: All adults to be offered one dose by mid-August
The change means that many adults will not be vaccinated in time for summer. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Sweden has formally abandoned its earlier plan to offer Covid-19 vaccinations to all adults in the first six months of 2021, setting a new target of August 15th and limiting that deadline to first doses only.

Health Minister Lena Hallengren confirmed on Thursday that there were not enough vaccines available in Sweden to follow the initial plan. Instead, she said all over-18s and children in risk groups would have been offered at least one dose of the vaccine by August 15th under current timetables. This means it would likely take several weeks more before the population is fully vaccinated.

“Since December, vaccine producers have repeatedly adjusted down their vaccine forecasts,” she told the TT newswire.

Under the new plan, all over-65s should have received at least one dose by May 16th.

Hallengren said that it wasn’t possible to give an estimation of when all adults would be fully vaccinated, telling TT: “It depends, as is almost common knowledge now, on which vaccine you get.”

The vaccines given today are administered with different intervals between doses, while the Johnson&Johnson jab expected to arrive in Sweden from mid-April requires only one dose. The timeline would also depend on when the vaccines are delivered.

Up to now, over 1.1 million people have received their first dose in the country of more than ten million, where around 8.2 million people are estimated to be eligible for the vaccine. It is not currently recommended for children who don’t belong to specific risk groups.

Vaccine coordinator Richard Bergström had earlier this week admitted on Swedish TV that Sweden would not reach its June vaccination target, saying at that point he estimated five million people would be fully vaccinated by the end of the month. But he later told media he still believed the entire eligible adult population would be able to receive their first dose by the end of June, which no longer looks possible.

In December when the first goal was set, it was estimated that 17.4 million vaccine doses would be delivered to Sweden within the first half of 2021, a figure which has now been cut down to 10.9 million.


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