On Monday, Sweden’s Health Agency recommend additional protection against COVID-19, and according to the report, people aged 80 or above should receive a second booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine that makes four in total to ward off immunity amid the rampant spread of the Omicron variant.
Anders Tegnell, Scandinavian country’s chief epidemiologist said that the Swedish Public Health Agency that a fourth dose “strengthens the protection” against severe disease.
They also added that people who live at nursing homes or who have assisted living helpers who visit their residences should get a fourth shot, or a second booster, according to the Public Health Agency of Sweden.
Sweden hit record levels of infections earlier this year as Omicron spread rapidly across the country.
But authorities are banking on booster shots and the milder symptoms of the variant to ease the pressure on healthcare and removed restrictions and scaled backtesting this month.
Sweden top as one of the most outstanding countries that stood out among European nations for their relatively COVID-19 response. The country never mandated lockdowns and businesses never closed as they largely relying instead on individual responsibility to control infections. While coronavirus deaths were high compared with other Nordic countries, they were lower than many other places in Europe that did implement lockdowns.
Earlier this month in neighboring Denmark, health authorities there said that they were considering “winding down” the country’s coronavirus vaccination program in the spring and saw no reason to administer a booster dose to children or the fourth shot to any more residents at risk of severe COVID-19.
A second booster can be obtained as soon as four months after receipt of the first booster.
The recommendation is for people who received the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
Both are built on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology and are typically administered in two-dose primary regimens, with the first doses spaced several weeks apart.
The primary regimens have proven insufficient to protect well against infection and the protection against hospitalization has also dropped significantly as time elapses from the second shot, particularly following the emergence of the Omicron CCP virus variant.
Infections remain pervasive and the Health Agency said a growing number of cases among groups at greater risk of serious diseases, such as nursing home residents, had been recorded in recent weeks.
“A booster dose strengthens protection. Therefore we believe people 80 years or older will benefit from a second booster dose,” Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said.
As with the first round of booster shots, the jabs should consist of Pfizer/Biontech (PFE.N) or Moderna (MRNA.O) vaccines, the agency said.
Aside from Sweden, other countries also considering the fourth vaccine jab and have previously expanded who is eligible. In Israel, all adults 60 or older with serious underlying conditions could get a second booster in addition to people who care for that population. South Korea also said on Monday that people who live in nursing homes and similar facilities will be able to get a fourth shot.