Residents without a personnummer excluded from Sweden’s Covid-19 vaccine pass

Sweden's Covid-19 vaccine pass launched on Thursday, but is currently only available to people with a Swedish personal ID number, excluding new arrivals, students, and several other categories of primarily foreign residents.

Residents without a personnummer excluded from Sweden's Covid-19 vaccine pass
The vaccine pass should be available to everyone who received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Sweden. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

On July 1st, a press spokesperson for the eHealth Agency told The Local by email: “We’re still working on how people with samordningsnummer and reservnummer can get their COVID certificates. As of now, you need a personal identity number (personnummer).”

Although it is possible for people without a digital ID (the main way of applying for the pass) to apply by sending a form via post, this too requires a personnummer

The numbers are only available to people who can prove they will be in Sweden for at least a year, so as well as new arrivals and people who run into bureaucratic difficulties, many students or people on shorter term work contacts are without the number. Many of these instead have a samordningsnummer (coordination number), while people without either number are given a reservnummer (reserve number) as a temporary substitute when they get their vaccination.

The Local has asked the agency if there is a timeframe for making the passes available to people without a personnummer, and what the current barriers are to it being possible, but on July 5th we were told there were no updates. 

Annemieke Ålenius, head of coordination at the eHealth Agency, previously told The Local that it would be possible to apply using a samordningsnummer (coordination number), but only using the paper form. 

At a press conference announcing the pass on June 16th, she said: “To register in the vaccine registry, you either need to have a Swedish personnummer or a coordination number [samordningsnummer]. So if you do not have a Swedish personnummer, you need a coordination number in order to receive the certificate and from July 1st, you also must use the manual method, as the technical solution is not built yet for those using a coordination number. But they can, as mentioned, use the form instead.”

A press spokesperson for the agency did not have any details to share on why this did not happen as planned.

Also at the June press conference, we asked what applies to people without either number, who are given a reserve number rather than either of the other two, but could not get an immediate clarification. Ålenius said reserve numbers are given out on a regional level and are not part of a central system, so this would be examined in future weeks. “We’ll take this question on board and get back to you,” she said.

The issues with the pass follow multiple instances of people lacking a personnummer being initially refused the Covid-19 vaccine, despite being eligible and despite authorities saying it would be freely available to everyone living in Sweden.

Readers of The Local had mixed experiences applying for their vaccine without the number. While some were easily booked in for a vaccine, others were told they were not eligible, or directed in circles between different authorities with each claiming they were unable to make the booking. At least one reader said they would travel back to their home country for their vaccine as a result.

As The Local has reported previously, there is often confusion about what people without the ten-digit code are entitled to, and it’s common to be told different things by different staff members.

For example, EU nationals have a right to access state-subsidised Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) lessons even if they don’t have a personnummer, but many people in this group report being wrongly told they are ineligible. Similar confusion exists within bank branches, for example, where EU citizenship or a coordination number should legally be enough to open an account, but foreigners may still find they are told they need a personnummer.

Member comments

  1. After immigrating to Sweden in January, my wife and son still do not have their personal numbers. Mine arrived after 5 months. Despite repeated calls and attempts to get a vaccine in no one is excluded Sweden, my wife was told to go to the asylum centre to wait in hope of a vaccine – meanwhile she is paying the highest rate of tax. With zero rights. The government and private systems in Sweden all revolve around this number. Which is great, provided Sweden can provide the number in a reasonable period. Prior to arriving I always held Sweden in such high esteem as an advanced society. It’s likely true 20 years ago but the country that touts itself as a digital leader could not even support the 4 components of the EU passport (testing for example) and can not meet it’s EU obligations or basic human rights. I could write the long list of the services my family is excluded from but presume this audience is well aware. My question is simple, who is accountable for solving the now 6 month delay on Personal Numbers and who will take accountability to put an interim solution in place? The simple no case manager is assigned is not a reasonable response 18 months into COVID. Maybe someone here has had some luck?

    1. Accountability in Sweden is a rare thing. Systemic failures are brushed aside and public services tolerate poor service with staff never impacted for their actions (or lack of). You are an expat, emigrating with your family and well paid by your own admission. Public services focus more on the burgeoning needs of arrivals in the “asylum” category as your being advised to throw your lot in with them for a vaccine shows. After 8 months here I still have no access to healthcare, COVID-19 testing or vaccination and I learn that I will not be allowed the vaccine pass as I had to get my double doses done outside Sweden. I hope your situation gets resolved as it’s not so pleasant feeling like a second class citizen in Sweden.

    2. Hi, sorry to hear this happened. We have gathered up some of the tips we were given both by authorities and by readers who had managed to get a vaccine without a personnummer in this article:
      The short version is that she should be able to contact a vårdcentral and book the vaccine there, but that it may require perseverance and multiple calls. Please email me at [email protected] if you want to share more details or have questions we can help with

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”