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UPDATED: Which events will require Sweden’s new vaccine pass?

The Public Health Agency has released new information on which measures will be introduced to stop the spread of infection from December 1st. But what events are affected? And will foreign Covid vaccine certificates be accepted? Here's The Local's guide.

man holding phone displaying swedish vaccination certificate
Vaccine passes will be required for affected events from December 1st. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Public Health Agency’s proposal, released on Tuesday, explains the new infection control measures which will be introduced next week if they are approved by decision-makers. They affect all indoor “public gatherings and public events” with over 100 attendees.

Organisers of such events are not required to demand vaccine passes from their guests, but those deciding to forego the vaccine pass requirement will have to adopt the following measures to limit the spread of infection instead:

  • attendees must have a designated seat
  • groups attending together must be able to keep at least 1 metre’s distance from other groups in all directions
  • groups must consist of eight people or fewer – groups of more than eight people must be split up into smaller groups by event organisers

Furthermore, event organisers choosing to use the vaccine pass system must have a routine for checking passes which is documented in writing, and it must be followed.

Organisers of indoor events must also provide guests with access to hand-washing facilities or hand sanitiser, as well as information on how to avoid the spread of infection. This applies whether organisers choose to demand a vaccine pass or not.

There are currently no plans to reintroduce limits on opening times seen previously during the pandemic, but this could change in the future.

What counts as a public gathering or public event? Where will I need a vaccine pass?

Public gatherings and public events are classified as theatres, concerts, cinemas, nightclubs, sports events, dance performances, funfairs and amusement parks, markets, conferences, demonstrations, and religious services.

Current information from the Public Health Agency is that the requirement will only apply to indoor events with over 100 attendees.

This means that, under current rules, any of the above gatherings or events taking place outdoors, or indoors with fewer than 100 attendees, will not be subject to the new rules on vaccine passes or new infection control measures.

For now, that means that events taking place outdoors, such as Christmas markets or funfairs, will not require a vaccine pass, but this may change.


Outdoor events such as Christmas markets are currently not affected by the requirement – although this may change. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Where is it not going to be required?

At the moment, restaurants and bars are not subject to the new measures, unless they are organising some sort of entertainment such as music or dance. In that case this will count as a public event, requiring a vaccine pass or other infection control measures if there are over 100 people attending.

However, the Public Health Agency is drafting new restrictions which could be introduced to restaurants and bars if infection rates increase dramatically.

This so-called “stage two” could extend the rules on vaccine passes or other infection control measures to restaurants, gyms and museums.

Classes and lectures taking place in schools and universities as part of a course of education are not classified as public gatherings or events either, so they will be exempt from the new vaccine pass rules.

However, lectures open to the public (i.e. lectures provided as entertainment rather than part of a course of education) will be subject to the requirement.

Shops, workplaces and public transport are not classified as public gatherings or events either, so they will be also be exempt from the new rules.

When asked in a press conference on November 18th whether those working at events would also be subject to the new vaccine pass and infection control measures, Public Health Agency director-general Karin Tegmark Wisell did not have an answer, stating that the agency would have to “consider this question in more detail” but that they did not “currently feel that they needed to be included in the vaccine pass”, and that the current proposal did not require, for example, those playing on sports teams to have a vaccine pass.

Restaurants are not currently classified as public gatherings, unless they are also providing some form of entertainment. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

What if I don’t have a Swedish vaccine pass?

Those without a Swedish vaccine pass will still be able to attend events which are outdoors, or indoors with fewer than 100 attendees, as well as larger indoor events where the organisers have chosen not to use the vaccine pass system.

It is currently unclear as to when a system for vaccinated individuals unable to access their vaccine pass will be ready – such as those without a personnummer (personal number) or samordningsnummer (co-ordination number) and if this will only be available for those vaccinated in Sweden, or if tourists or people vaccinated abroad will also be able to be issued a Swedish vaccine pass, as is possible in many other European countries.

Holders of EU-issued vaccine passes will be able to use their passes for attending affected events in Sweden.

Vaccine passes from so-called “approved” countries are currently accepted for entry into Sweden. The e-Health Agency, which is currently responsible for issuing Covid vaccine passes, confirmed to The Local that, as of November 23rd, vaccine passes from all countries on this list will be valid for public events, possibly with the exception of the US – the e-Health Agency was unable to confirm when asked.

Countries on this list have joined the EU’s vaccine pass system, and can therefore be validated alongside EU and Swedish vaccine passes.

Those who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons will be able to provide a doctor’s note explaining this instead, the Public Health Agency has confirmed.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Who can actually get a Swedish Covid pass?

Those without a Swedish e-ID such as BankID who are eligible for a vaccine pass may be subject to “substantial waiting times” when ordering their vaccine passes, so it may be advisable to apply as soon as possible if you are in this group. The current system for those without Swedish e-ID requires affected individuals to apply via post rather than online.

Vaccine passes valid for accessing the events above will only be available to those who can provide proof of vaccination – proof of negative test or recovery from Covid-19 will not be valid.

When The Local contacted the e-Health Agency for confirmation that the vaccine pass service will be available to all who are entitled to a pass before December 1st, we received the following response: “The e-Health Agency has been tasked by the government with introducing a manual routine for issuing vaccine passes to people without a personnummer (personal number) or samordningsnummer (coordination number). The government stated in their request that this issue should be solved before the end of the year. The e-Health Agency cannot currently provide an exact deadline for when this will be ready.”

Member comments

  1. This is a nightmare. I was vaccinated in the USA and now live in Sweden and therefore it is currently impossible for me to get a digital pass. What am I supposed to do?

    1. I had a US vaccine but then just got another one here. (J+J in the US and then Moderna here). I was told by the health ministry they would not convert my US vaccination cert into a pass for here.

      1. Did they ask you if you had already been vaccinated when you went to get the vaccine? Did you just tell them no?

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Did Sweden’s state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

For his supporters, it was well-deserved, for his detractors a case of failing upwards. But when Sweden's Public Health Agency announced this month that state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell was taking a job at the World Health Organisation, both sides assumed it was true.

Did Sweden's state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

Now, it seems, the job might not be there after all. 

At the start of this month, Sweden’s Public Health Agency announced that Anders Tegnell was resigning to take up a post coordinating vaccine work with the World Health Organisation in Geneva. 

“I’ve worked with vaccines for 30 years and have at the same time always been inspired by international issues,” Tegnell said in the release. “Now I will have the chance to contribute to this comprehensive international work.”

During the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tegnell shot immediately from obscurity into the spotlight, gaining such celebrity status in Sweden that one fan had his profile tattooed onto his arm.

Internationally he was hailed by lockdown sceptics for his reasoned arguments against overly restrictive measures to control the spread of the virus. 

His new WHO appointment was reported all over the world. 

But on Tuesday, the Svenska Daglabdet newspaper revealed that the job had not yet been awarded. A spokesperson for the WHO said at a press conference in Geneva that “there is some confusion”, and that “this is an internal question.” 

According to the newspaper, there is even “a certain level of irritation” behind the scenes at the WHO that Sweden acted too soon and dispatched Tegnell to a job that did not actually exist yet. 

“We have received an offer from Sweden, which is still under discussion,” the organisation’s press spokesperson, Fadela Chaib, told the newspaper. 

On Thursday, the Public Health Agency’s press chief Christer Janson conceded that there had been a mistake and that the negotiation had not been completed.  

“We believed it was done, but it wasn’t,” he told Expressen in an interview. “It’s been a much longer process to get this completed than we thought. There’s been a misunderstanding and we regret that.”