All you need to know about vaccination in Sweden
In connection with the new pandemic law which allows the government to for example shut down businesses if they abide in combination with increasing death rates, Sweden has now begun the work of vaccinating its population.
On December 21, the EU Commission approved the first vaccine Comirnaty, manufactured by Pfizer, for use within the European Union to fight the coronavirus and the first doses arrived in Sweden five days later.
Then on January 6, the second vaccine by Moderna was approved. But how does it work and what should you think of when it’s time to get vaccinated in Sweden? Join us in this blog post and we’ll sort everything out!
To ensure that everything is running smoothly, the Public Health Agency of Sweden has set up the following list for priority groups in several steps. The first step applies to:
- You who live in special accommodation for the elderly or have home care.
- You who work close to people who live in special housing for the elderly or work in the home care service.
- You who are an adult and live with someone who’s being taken care of at home.
The second step will be:
- You are 70 years or older.
- You who are an adult and receive support according to LSS (the law on support and service for certain disabled people) or have personal assistance.
- You who work in health care or care and work close to those who receive care or care.
After that, people with an increased risk of becoming seriously ill will be offered vaccination followed by the rest of the population who are 18 years or older. The recommendation stretches to adults only since the studies are not enough to guarantee their health and security. Therefore, it’s not recommended for these people to take the vaccine.
Patience will be the key when we’re talking about the procedure. The vaccine will, like all vaccines given in Sweden, be for free to anyone who wants to have it. This also includes persons that previously been infected with the virus. It’ll be given according to national priorities and access to vaccines. The general vaccination process will start in April and more information such as where you can make an appointment will follow.
Ok, but let’s fast forward to the scene when you’re nervously waiting in the waiting room for your turn. What will happen next? You’ll go there two times with one injection in the upper arm muscle per visit. The waiting time from the first and the second visit will be approximately three-four weeks depending on what vaccine you were injected with. You may feel a bit sore in your arm, increased tiredness, and headache within the first 24 hours after vaccination. These symptoms usually go away within a few days.
Please note that while your body is building up good and strong protection, you’re still at the risk of catching the virus during this waiting time.
All done. Right?
Yes, we’re heading in the right direction. But I have to break it to you – we’re not there yet. Not for a long time to come. And just because you had the virus, it doesn’t mean that you have antibodies. The vaccine is just one step that we have to comply with together with the standard procedures such as washing our hands as often as we can, keep social distance, work from home whenever possible, and use a high-quality mask when being out in public. The reason for this is that even though you’ve previously been ill and have natural anti-bodies generated by the disease, scientists are not sure how long they’ll remain in the body. And since this is a brand-new vaccine, there’re still many questions on how long it’ll help your body fighting the virus.
Vaccine and allergy
- In event of a serious allergic response
There have been reports that some patients have been forced to treatment with adrenaline in the hospital after getting the first dose of vaccine. This applies to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (such as the ones from both Moderna and Pfizer) If this happens, you shouldn’t get the second dose of vaccine.
- In event of a non-serious allergic response
Symptoms within 4 hours after getting the first dose such as the ones mentioned earlier are common ones are just to show that the shot is doing its work. But if you experience symptoms related to the ingredients in the vaccine, you shouldn't take the second dose of the vaccines available.
After receiving the two shots of the vaccine, you should also report if you think that it’s giving some long-time symptoms for two reasons. First of all, it’s for your health and the second reason is the future improvement of the vaccine. Just because it’s out and available, it doesn’t mean that it’s perfect and forever tested.
In America, a national monitoring program named V-safe has been launched. It’s based on using your smartphone, sending text messages and surveys to add your personal experiences, and as a health check-up. Included in this app, there’s also a reminder so you don’t forget the second but important shot and contact details to doctors in case you need additional information and support. Whether a similar version will be launched in Sweden is still unsure at the moment.
Where can I find more useful information?
You should also trust reliable sources to stop false information regarding the vaccine and the upcoming procedure. To find out more about the upcoming events and if you have further questions, please consult Q&A by the Public Health Agency of Sweden, Krisinformation, and your region's website for further information about when the vaccination will take place. The Public Health Agency of Sweden also has its own Youtube channel where information videos and press conferences are posted regularly (only in Swedish).
It’s very important to use these official sources to keep you updated with the latest and the most accurate information. But it’s also as important to stay calm and wait for your turn. As soon as it’s your turn, you’ll be notified.