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COVID-19

Half of Swedish adults have received a Covid-19 vaccine pass

Eight million Covid vaccine passes have been issued to 4.5 million Swedish residents so far, the e-Health Agency reports. This means that around half of Sweden's adult population have accessed the service.

a man checks a vaccine pass in Sweden
Vaccine passes have been required at indoor events of over 100 attendees, like film showings in cinemas, since December 1st. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The e-Health Agency is responsible for issuing Swedish vaccine passes, which have been required at some indoor events with over 100 guests since December 1st.

The agency’s spokesperson Jan Pettersson told newswire TT that there are a number of possible explanations for the high number of issued vaccine passes compared to how many people have received one.

“Some people may have ordered a vaccine pass earlier during the summer, which may no longer be valid. Or maybe they just forgot where they saved it. You can download a pass really quickly,” he said.

Passes issued before October 1st were only valid for three months – since then, they have been valid for six months.

Downloading a vaccine pass from covidbevis.se is usually quick and easy, unless you don’t have a Swedish e-ID like BankID, meaning you have to apply via post.

“Right now there’s extremely high pressure. You’ll have to wait at least a few weeks,” warned Pettersson.

Some groups are also still excluded from the vaccine pass system, despite being fully vaccinated. This includes people who were vaccinated abroad, as well as people vaccinated in Sweden who were vaccinated under a temporary reservnummer.

The Local has covered this issue in a series of articles since the passes launched on July 1st, although at the time Sweden only used them for exemptions to border restrictions. 

In October the government ordered the e-Health Agency to develop a system by the end of 2021 that would enable them to issue the Covid vaccine passes to people who are based in Sweden and are fully vaccinated, but are currently unable to get a certificate to prove it.

A spokesperson for the Health Ministry told The Local at the end of November that the e-Health Agency now has the “technical solution” for this ready, but authorities are still working on ironing out legal details which are needed for healthcare administrators to report vaccines for these groups to the right databases.

“The work is ongoing with the goal of being able to start using the solution from January 1st 2022,” the spokesperson confirmed in an email.

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COVID-19

Covid deaths in Sweden ‘set to rise in coming weeks’

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has warned that the number of weekly Covid deaths is set to rise, after the number of people testing positive for the virus rose for the sixth week running.

Covid deaths in Sweden 'set to rise in coming weeks'

According to the agency, an average of 27 people have died with or from the virus a week over the past three weeks. 

“According to our analyses, the number who died in week 27 (July 4th-July 11th), is more than died in week 26 and we expect this to continue to grow,” the agency wrote in a report issued on Thursday. 

In the week ending July 17th (week 28), 4,700 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, a 22 percent rise on the previous week. 

“We are seeing rising infection levels of Covid-19 which means that there will be more people admitted to hospital, and even more who die with Covid-19,”  said Anneli Carlander, a unit chief at the agency. “The levels we are seeing now are higher than they were last summer, but we haven’t reached the same level we saw last winter when omicron was spreading for the first time.” 

While 27 deaths a week with for from Covid-19 is a rise on the low levels seen this spring, it is well below the peak death rate Sweden saw in April 2020, when more than 100 people were dying a day. 

The number of Covid deaths recorded each week this summer. Source. Public Health Agency of Sweden
A graph of Covid deaths per day since the start of the pandemic shows that the current death rate, while alarming, remains low. Photo: Public Health Agency of Sweden

Carlander said that cases were rising among those in sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and also elderly people given support in their own homes, groups which are recommended to get tested for the virus if they display symptoms. The infection rate among those given support in their homes has risen 40 percent on last week. 

This week there were also 12 new patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 in Sweden’s hospitals.  

The increase has come due to the new BA.5 variant of omicron, which is better able to infect people who have been vaccinated or already fallen ill with Covid-19. Vaccination or a past infection does, however, give protection against serious illness and death. 

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