More than half Sweden’s adult population is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19

More than half Sweden's adult population is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19
Vials of the vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, all of which are highly effective at preventing serious illness from Covid-19. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Sweden passed a milestone in the fight against Covid-19 on Thursday with more than half of all adults in the country having received both doses of a vaccine against the virus.

As of July 29th, a total of 4,118,142 people have now received both doses (all vaccines being used in Sweden require two) while 6,365,362 have received at least one. That’s 50.3 percent and 77.7 percent of Sweden’s adult population respectively.

In early July, all of Sweden’s 21 healthcare regions, which were responsible for the vaccine rollout, had opened booking to all adults. The doses are usually given with around a six-week interval but the exact interval varies regionally; Stockholm, for example, reduced the minimum time between doses to four weeks this week.

Although the figures of vaccination rates are calculated as a proportion of the adult population, some regions have already opened booking to children aged between 16 and 18, and all regions will offer vaccines to this age group in the coming months. The use of the Pfizer jab has also been approved for children from the age of 12, but only if there are special conditions such as belonging to a risk group.

As a proportion of the total population, around 40 percent have been fully vaccinated and around 61 percent have received at least one dose. That puts Sweden below the EU average, as the chart from Our World in Data below illustrates.

This can at least partly be explained by countries’ different vaccine strategies, with some focusing on rolling out first doses to as many people as possible and others aiming for a high rate of full vaccination. Measuring by the proportion of the population to have received at least one dose, Sweden is instead above the EU average.

Sweden currently expects all adults will have been offered their first dose by September 19th at the latest, after delaying the target multiple times due to smaller deliveries than expected.

Vaccination against Covid-19 is free for everyone living in Sweden, including those residing temporarily such as students or others without a personnummer, and it is voluntary.

The numbers are based on what regions report to the National Vaccine Register, which should cover every vaccine administered in Sweden although there may be slight delays depending on the regions’ reporting systems. Vaccines given to people without a personnummer are still reported to this register and included in the national statistics, but a mismatch between Sweden’s population databases means that for this group, vaccination data cannot be connected to personal data, so it is not currently possible to get a digital vaccine certificate (used for travel between EU countries). Sweden’s eHealth Agency has told The Local they are aware of the issue and hope to solve it, but are unlikely to do so earlier than September.


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