Readers reveal: Why we can’t get a Swedish Covid vaccine pass

Readers reveal: Why we can't get a Swedish Covid vaccine pass
Sweden has said it is investigating the possibility of making the Covid vaccine pass available to everyone who has the right to receive it. Photo: Johan Jeppsson/TT
International residents have told The Local why many of them are currently unable to get the Covid vaccine pass in Sweden.

Seventy-three people responded to a recent survey by The Local, including 44 who said they had managed to access the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate (also often called the Covid pass, green pass, health pass etc) to show they had been vaccinated, and 29 who said they had not been able to access it.

Out of those who managed to get the Covid pass in Sweden, nearly all said it worked smoothly for them, but some mentioned teething issues at the start, including vaccine doses that hadn’t been registered. The Local covered some of these issues in an article in July.

The covidbevis.se website warns that it may take up to seven days before your vaccines are reported to Sweden’s National Vaccination Register, which is the database that the site gets your vaccine data from, but some readers said theirs had been registered within a day.

If you meet the requirements, the procedure for getting your pass is straightforward, most readers who responded to the survey agreed. You log in with your digital ID and get it sent to your digital mailbox. Alternatively, fill out a form and post it, then get a paper version back.

But if you don’t tick all the boxes, there are currently few options available to you.

The majority of people who still can’t get a Covid vaccine pass in Sweden seem to fall into two categories, based on the responses to The Local’s survey: people without a Swedish social security number (the personnummer) and people who got both their vaccine doses abroad.

“It went super smoothly, but I have a personal number and am a Swedish citizen. I feel bad though for those who do not have these ‘luxuries’,” said Vanessa from the US.

Kaye from the Philippines is working as an au pair in Sweden. Because she will only be here for a year, she is not eligible for a personnummer.

“I got fully vaccinated but can’t get the vaccine pass. If I go back to my home country, that’s even harder for me because I can’t prove that I’m fully vaccinated, so this is causing me so much stress. I still want to continue my journey as an au pair and of course travel to other EU countries,” she said.

A British-Dutch reader who preferred to remain anonymous said: “I have a funeral to attend in the UK and without official proof of vaccination will have to quarantine and take multiple tests to get there. All we could get was an unofficial printout of our medical records of the two vaccines. This makes for a very difficult situation.”

Several readers said they had been vaccinated in the US, but now could not get their doses registered in the Swedish system, which means they can’t get the Covid pass either, despite carrying an official vaccine card issued by the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (it’s worth knowing that some EU states may accept the CDC card for travel, but member states are free to set their own border restrictions).

Noel, a US-Mexican citizen who lives in Sweden, got both shots of the Pfizer vaccine in the US in May and said he had expected he would be able to receive Sweden’s Covid vaccine pass when it launched on July 1st. He said he was “frustrated” to learn that he couldn’t.

“I thought OK, maybe it’s just early and they’ll get to this by the middle of summer. It’s nearly September now and I’ve not heard any news about the Covid pass for people who were fully vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine in another country. It’s frustrating to see more and more countries and locations asking to see the official EU pass, knowing I can’t get it even though I’m fully vaccinated with the same vaccine my friends are,” added Noel.

Readers who have a Swedish personnummer but live abroad – or who got one dose in Sweden and another dose in another EU country (according to EU rules, it is the country that administered your vaccine that should issue the vaccine pass) – also reported problems.

Stefan is a Dutch travel blogger who used to live in Sweden and got his first vaccine dose here, then his second one in the Netherlands. He does have a Swedish personnummer but his Swedish digital ID has expired. He has been told that he can’t get a Covid certificate that shows his first dose because the eHealth Agency can only send it to an address registered in Sweden.

Its Dutch counterpart, meanwhile, can only issue proof of the second dose. They said they could add the first dose if Stefan could provide evidence of having received it, but he can’t access Sweden’s Covid pass and he’s also been struggling to contact his regional vaccine administrator in Sweden to get even an informal slip of paper that will confirm he has been vaccinated.

“It is very frustrating, because I need it. I understand there is a lot of bureaucracy and everything is new to everyone, so they have to make up the rules as they go along. I understand I’m an exception to the case and I’m not the priority. But I have to travel, and I can’t get tested every time. It’s inconvenient and it’s very costly,” Stefan said.

A Swedish citizen who lives in another EU country said she had experienced a similar problem. She got her vaccine in Sweden, but is unable to get the documents to prove it because she does not have a registered address in Sweden, nor a still valid digital ID.

When I left Ireland, where I live, they said they’d be able to arrange digital Covid certs for those vaccinated abroad eventually. They’re now saying they can’t,” she said. In Sweden, meanwhile, no one said that they wouldn’t be able to offer me proof of vaccination in any way at all unless I had a Swedish address and a BankID. I’d have waited to have my second dose if I’d known, but the information was a shambles all along, in both places but particularly in Sweden.”

Sweden has said it is looking into how to issue the Covid pass to people without personnummer and to residents who received an approved Covid vaccine abroad, with the government last week ordering the eHealth Agency to come up with a plan by October 1st at the latest.


Member comments

  1. I received a paper vaccine card when I got my first dose in Sweden. Are people not receiving these and/or is this not sufficient proof for other EU countries?

    1. If you mean the little card from the vaccine manufacturer then now, this is basically just service information for you. If there’s no QR code that leads to a standardized EU repository with all the information about that particular vaccination (name, address, manufacturer, issuer, date, charge..) then a lot of countries want at least a doctor’s signature together with a little sticker from the manufacturer with a charge number for the dose you have received and all the infos about the issuer (vaccination centre, health clinic..).

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.