Swedish health authorities recommend fourth dose for everyone over 80

The Public Health Agency has recommended those over 80 take a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. [EPA-EFE/Bagus Indahono]

The Public Health Agency has recommended those over 80 take a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The recommendation also applies to people living in special housing and to those who have home care.

The spread of COVID-19 is described by the Swedish Public Health Agency (Folkshälsomyndigheten, FHM) as still being intense. An increasing number of cases have been reported in recent weeks, particularly among groups at increased risk of severe reaction to the virus, such as residents in nursing homes.

As the risk of contracting a severe disease increases with age, the FHM now recommends that those most at risk of serious illness be offered a second booster dose. This group includes people living in residential care homes, people with home help or home health care and people aged 80 and over

“A top-up dose strengthens protection. Therefore, we believe that people aged 80 and over benefit from a second booster dose,” said Anders Tegnell, Head of Department and State Epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency.

Swedish regional authorities will be able to start offering the second booster dose at the earliest four months after the previous one, starting as of 22 February.

A full dose of the vaccine from Pfizer/Biontech or half a dose of Moderna’s is currently recommended as a booster dose.

The phasing out of COVID-19 measures began on 9 February in Sweden. It includes the removal of explicit restrictions on participation, such as social distancing and the requirement to use vaccination certificates at public gatherings and events.

(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)

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