The Swedish Health Authority said on Thursday that they would not recommend covid-19 vaccinations for all children aged five to 11, as the country once again chooses a different coronavirus policy than large parts of Europe. The Scandinavian country, which controversially chose against some form of locking or closing of schools during the early days of the pandemic, recommended jabs only for children who were at risk.
“The vaccines are safe, there are very good vaccines but we are now focusing on the medical benefits for the individual child and we do not see that the benefits are large enough for us to be able to recommend for the whole group,” says Britta Bjorklund at the Swedish Public Health Agency.
“We do not see that we want to vaccinate a whole group of children for the sake of society,” she said. “We want to see a clear benefit for the children themselves and the individual child, which is why we do not recommend it at the moment.”
However, the decision can be reconsidered if the health situation changes, the authorities said. While Sweden chose not to introduce locks early in the pandemic, visits to elderly care homes were banned, the number of people attending public gatherings was limited and opening hours in bars and restaurants were limited.
Like other European countries, the highly contagious Omicron variant has led to a record number of new cases in the country with 10.3 million, with more than 50,000 cases registered on Wednesday alone. With more than 15,700 deaths so far, Sweden’s death toll is in line with the European average, but is much higher than in neighboring Norway, Finland and Denmark.
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