The general recommendation that healthy children aged 12 to 17 receive the COVID-19 vaccine ended after Oct. 31, according to the authority in a revision posted this weekend.
It cited the “very low risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19” in children and teens for the change. After Oct. 31, vaccination will be recommended for only certain children in vulnerable groups.
Soren Andersson, an official in the Swedish health agency, elaborated on the rule change to broadcaster SVT and said that “we see that the need for care as a result of COVID-19 has been low among children and young people during the pandemic” and added that the need for vaccines has “decreased since the virus variant omicron began to spread.”
“In this phase of the pandemic, we do not see that there is a continued need for vaccination in this group,” Andersson continued.
For people over the age of 18, the Swedish health authority is still recommending three vaccine doses. Four doses are recommended for people over the age of 65.
Unlike most other countries, Sweden refused to implement draconian COVID-19 lockdowns. Data and studies have shown that the highly developed Scandinavian nation may have experienced less harm from the virus and lockdowns as compared with nations that did implement those measures.
After seeing a relatively high death toll at the start of the pandemic, Sweden is now seeing fewer deaths per capita than the European average, according to the AFP news agency.
Denmark Makes Vaccine Change
In nearby Denmark, authorities issued a similar rule change and will not offer people under the age of 50 more COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
“The purpose of vaccination is not to prevent infection with COVID-19, and people aged under 50 are therefore currently not being offered booster vaccination,” the country’s health agency wrote in a Sept. 13 statement.
Denmark also explicitly dropped any pretense of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and said it will focus on protecting vulnerable individuals from developing severe symptoms.
Individuals under the age of 50, it said, “are generally not at particularly higher risk of becoming severely ill” from the virus. At the same time, younger people are also “well protected against becoming severely ill” and a “very large number of them have already been vaccinated and have previously been infected,” according to the authority.
The UK Health Security Agency said around the same time that children who hadn’t turned 5 by the end of August wouldn’t be offered vaccines.