2 million adults have received a Covid-19 vaccine dose in Sweden

The Covid-19 infection rate has risen in Sweden week by week since the start of February, leading the Public Health Agency to renew calls for people to change their behaviour so that the country has "as few cases as possible" – at the same time as Sweden passed a milestone with two million people having received a first vaccine dose.

2 million adults have received a Covid-19 vaccine dose in Sweden
The Public Health Agency's Karin Tegmark Wisell gave the biweekly Covid-19 update. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

“The key message you have to take away from this presentation is that the spread of infection is still high. Distance is needed, we need to have as few contacts as possible,” said the Public Health Agency’s Karin Tegmark Wisell at the agency’s bi-weekly press conference.

“Everyone needs to contribute to reverse the trend. Work from home. Avoid all non-essential contacts. We urge everyone to review your everyday life, and if there are any of the recommendations that you could follow more closely, you need to help out.”

The national incidence rate (the number of new cases per 100,000 residents) has now reached 794, close to the highest level at any point in the pandemic, and higher than most other European countries. Tegmark Wisell said that after a steady rise over the past two months, the situation appeared to be stabilising, but at too high a level: “We need to get the number of cases down.”

Within the healthcare sector, the National Board of Health and Welfare’s Iréne Nilsson Carlsson said: “Since autumn, there has been a constantly high burden on healthcare. Today there are 2,127 who need hospital care due to Covid-19 and 403 of them are in intensive care. At the moment, we do not see any signs of improvement.” 

Västernorrland currently had the highest incidence rate of any region, at 1,335 cases per 100,000 residents, followed by Kalmar (1,126) and Örebro (1,020).

Of the major city regions, Stockholm’s incidence rate was still high but below the national level at 760, while in Västra Götaland the figure was 817 and Skåne had a lower rate at 580.

The positive news was that almost one in four adults have now received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine; the number topped 2 million on Thursday, and included around 90 percent of all over-80s in the country.

Tegmark Wisell explained that Sweden is not yet near a situation where Covid-19 restrictions will be relaxed further for vaccinated people.

“We need to get down the spread of infection in the whole population. If there are future situations where a vaccine pass may become a reality, we will have a discussion about that at the time,” she said.

“We are not at a point where a vaccination pass can facilitate a situation where some people can do things and others can’t. We need to get down the spread of infection. If we get it down, we want to open up society for everyone.” 

You can watch the press conference (in Swedish) below:

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