STOCKHOLM, September 23 (Reuters) – Sweden is considering giving a third dose of COVID vaccine to a larger part of the population due to fears that the protective effect of the two shots that most have had may begin to diminish, said the country’s public health authority on Thursday .
Sweden has vaccinated 83% of the population over the age of 16 with one dose and 76% with two doses. The health service recently identified about 40,000 people who need a third dose, but said on Thursday that more may soon be eligible.
“There are signals from abroad that indicate that the protection against vaccination disappears after a while, especially among those who are older,” said Sara Byfors, an official of the Swedish Public Health Agency, at a press conference. “It is important to meet it with a third dose.”
The number of infections in Sweden has decreased rapidly in the last two weeks, but there have been several cluster outbreaks in elderly care, some of which have led to deaths.
Sweden has chosen shutdowns during the pandemic, instead focusing on mostly voluntary measures. Most actions and recommendations will be completed next week.
It has had several times more deaths per capita from the pandemic than its Nordic neighbors, but lower than in most European countries that chose lockdowns.
Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Simon Johnson
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