Sweden cuts recommended gap between second and third COVID shot

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Sweden will cut the recommended time interval between the second and third COVID vaccine shot to five months from six, the health agency said.

The decision will affect people between the age of 18 and 64. People above 65 were already eligible to get their booster shot five months after the second. Children aged 12 to 17 will still have to wait six months.

A number of other countries, including Britain, Denmark and France, have already reduced the interval between the second and third shots of the vaccine for at least some sections of their populations, sometimes to as little as three months.

“The purpose of the shorter time interval is for more people to be able to be vaccinated earlier. The regions should not have to stand idle with unused capacity,” Health Agency Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said in a statement.

Sweden has vaccinated 86% of the population aged 12 and up with one shot and 82% with two shots or more.

Sweden stood out early in the pandemic by opting against lockdowns, instead focusing on a mostly voluntary strategy based on social distancing and good hygiene.

Sweden has more than 15,000 dead from the pandemic, several times higher per capita than its Nordic neighbours but lower than most other European countries.

Photo – People pass a sign reading ‘Remember to keep distance from each other’ at Malmoe C train station in Malmoe, Sweden. EPA-EFE/JOHAN NILSSON

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