The upcoming introduction of mandatory coronavirus vaccine passes was announced by Health Minister Lena Hallengren on Wednesday.
Citing the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases across Europe – which has not hit the country itself yet – the minister stressed the need to be ready for the new wave of infections, projected to reach Sweden mid-December.
“The spread is increasing in Europe. We haven’t seen it yet in Sweden, but we are not isolated,” Hallengren told a news conference. “We need to be able to use vaccination certificates.”
Starting from December 1, the documents confirming a person’s vaccination status will be a requirement to enter any indoor event with 100 or more people in attendance. Sweden already boasts high vaccination rates, with 85% of its citizens aged over 16 having received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Over 81% have received two shots or more, public health data shows.
Earlier in the day, the country’s health authorities backtracked on a highly controversial decision to stop testing fully vaccinated people who showed symptoms of Covid. The recommendation was rolled out in October, leading to a 35% decline in Covid-19 tests taken.
“The Public Health Agency has decided to recommend that the regions offer testing to everyone who is 6 years and older who gets symptoms that may be COVID-19,” the health authority said in a statement.