In the face of a failing vaccination drive, Sweden will step its efforts to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19, with authorities warning on Wednesday that the unprotected may have to live with limitations for longer.
More over 80% of Swedes aged 16 and up, who are eligible for the vaccines, have gotten at least one dose, and nearly 75% are fully vaccinated. However, some places, particularly those with a significant foreign-born population and those with low wealth, lag behind the rest of the country.
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Sweden‘s vaccination uptake is comparable to that of much of Western Europe, but it is far lower than that of standouts such as Denmark.
“More efforts are needed to make vaccine coverage even higher and more equal,” Lena Hallengren, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, said during a press conference.
“In Sweden, we don’t want any blank spaces on the immunization map. Everyone has a right to the protection that the vaccine provides, as far as we know.”
Hallengren stated that 40 million Swedish crowns ($4.67 million) would be spent on more vaccine information and initiatives such as buses with drop-in vaccination slots in low-uptake areas.
Throughout the outbreak, Sweden has avoided lockdowns, relying instead on voluntary measures.
In two weeks, the country will remove practically all remaining limitations and recommendations, but individuals who choose not to get the vaccine must still follow instructions, according to the Health Agency.
“If you don’t get vaccinated, you won’t be able to return to the way of life we had before 2020. The Swedish Public Health Agency will issue special advice and instructions for those who have not been vaccinated in the near future “Johan Carlson, the head of the Swedish Health Agency, stated.
During the pandemic, Sweden’s death toll per capita from the virus was far greater than that of its Nordic neighbors, although it was lower than that of most European countries that chose lockdowns.
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