Sweden recommends AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for over 65s: Health Agency

A box of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is seen as syringes are filled at the Skane University Hospital vaccination centre in Malmo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden has extended its recommendation for the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine to cover people aged over 65, its Health Agency said on Thursday.

Sweden had previously held off recommending the vaccine for the elderly, citing lack of research on that group.

“There are new studies, from England and Scotland for instance, showing that Astrazeneca’s vaccine offers a very good protection in these age groups,” Health Agency official Sara Byfors told a news conference.

Sweden, which has avoided imposing throughout the pandemic, registered 4,838 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, health agency statistics showed.

The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 13 new deaths, taking the total to 12,977.

Sweden’s death rate per capita is many times higher than its Nordic neighbours, but lower than several European countries that opted for lockdowns.

(Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Johan Ahlander; editing by John Stonestreet)

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