May 24, 2022 - Health

Sweden recommends 5th shot for people at risk of severe COVID

People walk in crowds in Stockholm, Sweden on February 5, 2022
Shoppers in Stockholm early this year. Photo: Atila Altuntas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sweden is recommending a fifth COVID-19 vaccine for people with an increased risk of severe illness, including anyone who's pregnant or over 65, health authorities said Tuesday.

The big picture: Sweden, which has taken a more relaxed approach to the pandemic, with the government holding out on requiring masks and keeping schools, restaurants and bars open, is believed to be the first country to recommend a fifth COVID shot.

What they're saying: "The vaccine is our strongest tool for preventing serious illness and death," Swedish Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren said during a press briefing on Tuesday, AP reports.

  • "The pandemic is not over," Hallengren added.

Details: Sweden's public health agency said the fifth dose will be available beginning Sept. 1 and is aimed at preparing the country "for an increased spread during the upcoming autumn and winter season."

  • Adults under 65 will also be allowed to receive a fourth shot, but it won't be required.

Go deeper ... Sweden's top epidemiologist defends coronavirus strategy

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to note that adults under 65 will be allowed to receive a fourth shot, not a fourth booster.

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