Vaccine, medicine and treatment

Here you can find information about vaccination, how authorities follow up on the potential risks of vaccines, and covid-19 drugs and treatments.

National plan for Covid-19 vaccination

Vaccination against Covid-19 is free of charge for everyone. The national plan for Covid-19 vaccination is being drawn up in collaboration between the Public Health Agency of Sweden, the National Board of Health and Welfare, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, the national coordinator for Covid-19 vaccine, and infectious disease doctors and representatives from the regions.

Sweden is part of an EU cooperation on a joint agreement for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines. Read the Government's press release on the vaccine collaboration (in Swedish).

Order of priority for vaccines

The Public Health Agency of Sweden deems that those with the greatest need for protection against COVID-19 should be offered the vaccine first. The vaccination programme has therefore been divided into four phases. Vaccine availability will determine how quickly the vaccine can be offered to more people.

Phase 1
In the first phase, the following groups will be offered vaccines:

  • Individuals who live in residential care homes for the elderly or who use home care services under the Social Services Act.
  • Healthcare personnel working with this risk group.
  • Adults who live with someone in this risk group.

Phase 2
In the second phase, the following groups will be offered vaccines:

  • Other individuals aged 70 years or older. The oldest will be vaccinated first.
  • Individuals aged 18 years and older who receive help under the Act concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments (LSS). This also applies to individuals aged 18 years and older who have been granted assistance allowance under the Swedish Social Insurance Code.
  • Medical and care service professionals, including LSS, who work closely with patients and recipients of care. 

Phase 3
In the third phase, other adults in risk groups will be offered vaccines. The work of defining these groups is ongoing.

Phase 4
In the fourth and final phase, other adults who are not in risk groups will be offered vaccines.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has chosen not to recommend vaccination for individuals under the age of 18. Nevertheless, if a child has a certain illness or condition that may increase the risk of severe illness from Covid-19, vaccination can be discussed with the child's doctor where appropriate.

Local adaptations may be necessary, for example if the healthcare system is under pressure. Regions may need to bring forward vaccination of staff in intensive care units.

Vaccine must be approved by the EU and the Swedish Medical Products Agency

A vaccine is usually approved centrally within the EU. This means that it is reviewed by experts from all member states, including the Swedish Medical Products Agency. The approval is based on information and data from the vaccine manufacturer. Within the EU, there are clear requirements for which tests and clinical studies need to be carried out and how extensive they need to be.

When assessing whether a vaccine should be approved or not, the benefit of the vaccine is weighed against the possible risks that can be seen in the form of side effects reported in the clinical studies. Even when approved, the vaccine is monitored to detect new side effects. Read more about how vaccines are approved on the Swedish Medical Products Agency's website (in Swedish).

About risks and adverse effects

The government has mandated the Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket) to further elaborate the safety follow-up for the upcoming covid-19 vaccine.

The Medical Products Agency is planning to:

  • Support the healthcare system and the general public with regard to reporting suspected adverse effects.
  • Publicise the importance of reporting suspected adverse effects.
  • Track suspected adverse reactions across various health data registries.
  • Undertake in-depth registry studies of suspected adverse effects.

Medicines

Two medicines against covid-19 are approved for treatment in Europe. These are the antiviral drugs Veklury (remdesivir) and Dexametazone, a drug that reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system.

The Swedish Medical Products Agency on Veklury (remdesivir) and Dexamethasone.

The Swedish Medical Products Agency discusses the basis for Veklury's (remdesivir) approval and the WHO's recommendation of 20 November 2020 that remdesivir should not be used for patients with covid-19.

Report side effects

If you get side effects from the drugs you receive in connection with treatment for Covid-19, it is important that you report them to the Medical Products Agency. Report on the Medical Products Agency's website (in Swedish).

Treatment of Covid-19

Most people who experience the Covid-19 illness will recognise the symptoms of a normal cold or a bout of flu and do not need to seek medical care. A small group of those who become infected fall seriously ill and may need hospital care. If your condition worsens suddenly or you experience breathing difficulties even when resting, contact the health service immediately.

Self-care if you have mild symptoms

If you have mild symptoms, 1177 Healthcare Guide offers tips on things you can do to feel better:

  • Drink a lot of fluid. This is particularly important if you have a cough or fever.
  • Use extra pillows to make the top end of the bed higher.
  • You will usually feel better if you use fever-reducing medicine when you have a high temperature.
  • Get plenty of rest, but avoid lying still for too long as this worsens the ability of your lungs to function and can impair recovery from the illness.

Treatment in the event of serious illness

Some people who get Covid-19 become seriously ill with pneumonia and can find it difficult to breathe. If you fall seriously ill, you will be given treatment to support the function of your lungs and other organs that might be affected. This may, for example, involve your being given extra oxygen or assistance with breathing via a respirator.

Rehabilitation after Covid-19

The period of medical care may be long for patients who develop Covid-19, especially if they have been in intensive care. In some cases, symptoms can persist for a long time after a person has 'recovered' from Covid-19. If you have been infected and experience persistent physical or psychological problems, you may need to contact the health service. Your healthcare centre or 1177 Healthcare Guide can tell you more about whom you should contact about rehabilitation.

Warning about misleading products

The Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) is encouraging the public to be alert regarding food supplements and other food items that are claimed to cure or prevent Covid-19. Many products have emerged during the pandemic, mainly online. However, claiming that food supplements or other food items either cure or protect against Covid-19 is illegal. There is no scientific evidence for this. The Swedish Food Agency is collaborating with other government agencies to stop such sales.

If you encounter these kinds of products, you can submit a report to the municipality's food inspectors or send an email to the Swedish Food Agency at registrator@slv.se.

Updated