Swedish government gives green light to expanding vaccine pass scheme

The government has granted the Public Health Agency the power to extend vaccine passes to restaurants and other venues, if it believes it is necessary.

a sign for drop-in vaccination for Covid-19
Not everyone who is fully vaccinated can get a Covid vaccine pass in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The decision to expand Sweden’s Covid vaccine pass scheme was made at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning.

Shortly after lunch, the government confirmed it had given the Public Health Agency the right to introduce regulations about vaccine passes in restaurants, culture and leisure centres, shops and shopping centres, private events and some long-distance public transport.

Takeaway and shops such as grocery stores and pharmacies will not be allowed to require vaccine passes.

People with diplomatic immunity will also be exempt from any rules to show a vaccine pass, wrote Aftonbladet, which was the first news site to break the news on Wednesday.

According to a previous proposal by the government, “private events” refers to private events held in rented venues, not gatherings in people’s homes.

Each venue will be able to decide whether to require vaccine passes or have other infection control measures in place.

There was no information available on when or even if the scheme could be expanded – the decision on whether or not to roll vaccine passes out to the above venues will be up to the Public Health Agency. The agency’s expert Britta Björkholm told a press conference on Wednesday that it had not yet made a decision.

Sweden currently uses vaccine passes at public events with more than 20 attendees, but put previous plans to extend them to venues such as restaurants were put on hold just before Christmas, with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson saying at the time that she first wanted to give more people the chance to get a booster dose of the Covid vaccine.

The wait for a vaccine pass is currently up to six weeks for those who have to apply by post, compared to minutes for those with a Swedish electronic ID who are able to apply online.

Some groups have not been able to apply for a vaccine pass at all since they were launched in July, despite being vaccinated, as The Local has reported in several articles.

People without a personal number or a coordination number who got vaccinated in Sweden should however be able to apply for a vaccine pass from January. The exact date and procedure depends on your region – read more about how to apply HERE.

Sweden is also set to launch a new service which will allow citizens and registered residents who got vaccinated overseas to apply for a vaccine pass. It is now expected to be ready by February 1st, according to the latest information The Local has received.

There is currently no estimated time frame for when foreign visitors – or foreigners who are based in Sweden but are not yet in the population register – will be able to get a Swedish vaccine pass. Some foreign vaccine passes are valid in Sweden, but not all.

Member comments

  1. What about those of us that are vaccinated but Sweden hasn’t figured out how to accept our vaccine pass because it’s not digital with a QR code… So ridiculous!!

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For members


How to get a Swedish Covid vaccine pass if you got vaccinated abroad

Starting February 1st, foreign residents who got vaccinated in a third country are able to get a Swedish Covid vaccine pass. But where can they apply, who is eligible, and how does the process work?

How to get a Swedish Covid vaccine pass if you got vaccinated abroad
Foreign-vaccinated Swedish residents may soon be able to attend events requiring a vaccine pass. Photo: Pär Bäckström/TT

Where can I apply?

As of February 1st, it is possible to get your overseas vaccinations added to a Swedish vaccine pass by applying at an in-person visit to a National Government Service Centre in Stockholm, at their locations in either Stockholm City or Liljeholmen (find their addresses here).

The service will be rolled out in Gothenburg, Malmö and Luleå – the only other Swedish cities that offer it – on March 1st.

You cannot currently apply for this service via post or online.

How does it work?

Visit one of the National Government Service Centres: those in Stockholm are open Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm. You do not need to book an appointment. Note that Service Centres outside Stockholm will only be offering this service from March 1st.

At the Service Centre, you will need to show one of the following accepted ID documents:

  • ID card issued by the Swedish Tax Agency
  • Swedish passport with burgundy cover
  • Swedish national ID card
  • Swedish driving license
  • Swedish SIS-marked ID card issued by, for example, a bank, company, government agency or Svensk Kassaservice
  • Swedish service card (without SIS mark) issued by a government agency

You will also need to present “original documents” confirming your vaccination.

The Service Centre will verify your documents and forward your application to the eHealth Agency, which will then issue the vaccine pass to your digital mailbox. There is currently no information as to how long it will take for applications to be processed once they have been approved by the Service Centre, but the eHealth Agency has previously said that it aims to cut waiting times to a maximum of two weeks.

Who can use this service?

The service is available to people over the age of 16 who have a registered home address in Sweden (i.e. have a Swedish personal number) and a digital mailbox.

It is only possible for people vaccinated outside the EU to get a Swedish vaccine pass. However, the EU Covid certificate, as well as certificates from more than 30 non-EU countries, are valid as proof of vaccination in Sweden so they don’t need to be converted.

“You must have received the last vaccination dose in a series, in a third country,” said the eHealth Agency on its website about the requirements for receiving a Swedish vaccine pass. “Third countries are countries outside the EU/EEA as well as countries where it has not been possible to obtain a vaccination certificate, even though the country is connected to the EU’s digital Covid certificate system.”

It is not possible for foreign tourists or people who live in Sweden but don’t have a personal number to get a Swedish vaccine pass at this stage. The government has previously said it is looking into expanding the vaccine pass scheme to these groups, too.