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Swedish ombudsman inundated with complaints about compulsory health pass

Sweden's Ombudsman, (JO), is currently drowning in reports from upset Swedes regarding the intended vaccine passes announced by the government and the Public Health Agency. In an interview, JO's information manager, Anders Jansson, admitted that about 6 300 reports have been received so far. He said he has never seen anything like it in such a short time.

Published: November 29, 2021, 7:22 am

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    On 17 November, the government announced that, at the request of the Swedish Public Health Agency, it intended to introduce requirements for vaccination certificates from December 1 in order to participate in cultural activities such as theaters, cinemas or other public gatherings indoors where more than a hundred people participate.

    Similar certificates, or vaccine passports as they are also called, are already a reality in several European countries. Although the government had already announced in September that it was investigating the possibility of introducing vaccine passports, it chose, unlike other countries, to postpone the introduction of the Covid vaccine certificate. Many even began to hope that this would not become a reality in Sweden.

    The news that the government, at the request of the Swedish Public Health Agency, is nevertheless going ahead and making the vaccine passports a reality, which many perceive as a serious breach of privacy, caused a public outcry in the form of a steady stream of reports to the Ombudsman.

    When Swedish weekly Nya Tider on November 24 interviewed Anders Jansson, information manager at JO, he said that complaints just keep coming in. “So far, we have received over 6 300 applications.”

    NyT: These are incredible numbers we are talking about. Do you see anything that indicates that the inflow would decrease right now?

    No, I would not think so, at least not in the next few days.

    NyT : Is it possible to say to whom the reports are directed?

    Yes, in general it is the Swedish Public Health Agency that receives the most reports. But even the government and parliament receive many.

    ‘We have never seen anything like it’

    Anders Jansson said that the Ombudsman usually receives a total of approximately 10 000 notifications during a year, but that the situation is now exceptional because it is an issue that has spurned so many complaints in just under a week, even though the individual notifications are directed at various government agencies.

    NyT: How would you describe the current situation?

    I would say that the situation is quite unique right now. For at least eight years, I have not seen an individual issue have such an impact that it has resulted in so many reports in such a short time.

    Extra people had to be called in to deal with complaints

    It points to a huge popular dissatisfaction, which has so far resulted in more than 6 300 reports, and there is no end yet in sight. In a short time it has created a large workload on JO, Anders Jansson explained.

    NyT: So have you been able to process all the complaints?

    There has been such a large flood that we have had to redirect labor within the authority and bring in extra people just to be able to register all applications.

    NyT : Would you say that you can handle the situation so far?

    Yes, even if it’s quite a struggle. Many who have submitted applications may have to wait longer to receive confirmation that the complaint has been received. Then comes the next step, that all reports are sorted and dispatched to the right departments depending on which authorities the reports apply to, and we are not there yet, but each report must of course be assessed correctly.

    The mood in Sweden reflected by short stint of the country’s first female PM

    Magdalena Andersson (Social Democrat) became Sweden’s first female prime minister, but seven and a half hours later, she resigned from the post after a budget “drafted for the first time with the far-right” was accepted.

    The political drama last week came after Andersson lost support for the government’s budget during the Riksdag’s budget vote in the afternoon, on the same day that she was supposed to replace outgoing Premier Stefan Löfven. Her coalition partner, the Green Party said it could not accept a budget from the Sweden Democrats and they intended to stand by their threat to leave the government and the government fell.

    This forced Andersson to ask to be dismissed by the Speaker from the role of Prime Minister.

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