STOCKHOLM – Sweden's health authority said Thursday that it would not recommend COVID-19 vaccinations for all children aged five to 11, the country again choosing a different coronavirus policy than much of Europe.
The Scandinavian country, which controversially opted against any form of lockdown or school closures during the pandemic's early days, 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 of the individual child and we don't see that the benefits are great enough for us to recommend for the whole group," Britta Bjorklund of the Public Health Agency said.
"We don't 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 so that's why we don't recommend it at the moment."
However the decision could be reassessed if the health situation changes, the authorities said.
While Sweden chose not impose lockdowns early in the pandemic, it did ban visits to elderly care homes, limit the number of people attending public gatherings and restrict opening hours at bars and restaurants.
Like other European countries, the highly contagious Omicron variant has led to record numbers of new cases in the country of 10.3 million, with more than 50,000 cases recorded on Wednesday alone.
With over 15,700 fatalities so far, Sweden's death toll is in line with the European average, but is far higher than those of neighbouring Norway, Finland and Denmark.