Sweden cuts recommended waiting period for Covid booster

Sweden's Public Health Agency has given regions the go-ahead to shorten the interval between the second and third dose of the Covid vaccine for all adults.

a nurse vaccinating a man
Most Swedish regions currently only offer the booster dose after five months to over-65s, while other adults can get it after six months. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

In most Swedish regions, only over-65s are currently able to get their Covid booster five months after their second dose (or five months after their first dose, if their first dose was the Johnson & Johnson, also known as Janssen, vaccine). Other adults have to wait six months.

But the Public Health Agency now recommends that the interval be shortened to five months for everyone over the age of 18.

In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, it said regions should prioritise people over the age of 50 and people aged 18-49 who belong to risk groups.

Swedish regions are responsible for their own healthcare so it is ultimately up to them to decide how and when to roll out boosters to more people. To find out how to book a vaccine in your region, go to the healthcare website and click välj region at the top of the page.

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Sweden opens up fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine for over-80s

Sweden's Public Health Agency is now recommending a fourth vaccine dose for care home residents, recipients of at-home care, and over 80s, to be given at least four months after dose three.

Sweden opens up fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine for over-80s

Despite recently removing almost all Covid-19-related restrictions, the pandemic is still ongoing in Sweden, with the Public Health Agency describing the spread of infection in a press release as “intensive”.

There has also been an increase in the number of cases in groups of the population with an increased risk for serious illness, such as care home residents. 

In addition to this, the immune system’s ability to react to vaccinations and build up long-term protection against the virus becomes less effective with age.

In response to this, the Public Health Agency is now recommending that Swedish regions offer a second booster dose – representing a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine – to the following at-risk groups:

  • care home residents
  • recipients of at-home care
  • over 80s

Regions will be able to offer the dose four months after the first booster dose (dose three), at the earliest, starting from next week.

“A booster dose strengthens protection against the virus,” said state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell in a statement. “Therefore, we believe that people aged 80 and over will benefit from a second booster dose.”

First booster doses are available for over-18s in all Swedish regions. If you have not had yours yet and want to know how to book in your region, see The Local’s guide HERE.