February 15, 2022
The Public Health Agency of Sweden on Monday recommended a second COVID-19 booster shot for people ages 80 and older to strengthen their immunity against the surging omicron variant.
In a statement, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said a fourth dose “strengthens the protection” against severe disease.
The agency also recommended a second booster shot for all nursing home residents and those receiving nursing care at home. It said the second booster should be administered four months after the first booster shot.
Sweden hit record levels of infections earlier this year as omicron spread rapidly across the country. The health agency said a growing number of cases among groups at greater risk of serious disease, such as nursing home residents, had been recorded in recent weeks.
For most of the pandemic, Sweden has stood out among European nations for its comparatively hands-off response. It never went into lockdown or closed businesses, largely relying instead on individual responsibility to control infections. While coronavirus deaths were high compared to other Nordic countries, they were lower than many other places in Europe that implemented lockdowns.
Last week, the Swedish government announced it had halted wide-scale testing for COVID-19 even among people showing symptoms of an infection.
Swedish Public Health Agency chief Karin Tegmark Wisell announced, “We have reached a point where the cost and relevance of the testing is no longer justifiable.”
As of last Wednesday, only health care and elderly care workers and the most vulnerable in Sweden will be entitled to free PCR testing if they are symptomatic, while the rest of the population will simply be asked to stay home if they show symptoms that could be indicative of COVID-19.