Face of Sweden’s debated virus strategy gets WHO vaccine job

Mar 9, 2022, 4:58 AM | Updated: 8:42 am

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The chief epidemiologist who was considered the architect of Sweden’s pandemic approach, which avoided lockdowns but saw the Scandinavian country earn one of the world’s highest per capita COVID-19 death rates, is going to work for the World Health Organization.

The Swedish Public Health Agency said Wednesday that Anders Tegnell will start with the U.N. health agency on Monday. In Geneva, he will work on global coronavirus vaccination efforts, coordinating the activities of WHO, UNICEF and the public-private vaccine organization Gavi.

“For 30 years, I have worked with vaccines and at the same time have always been passionate about international issues,” Tegnell said in a statement. “It is still very important that the vaccines reach the countries that have not had the financial conditions to buy their own vaccines.”

Sweden stood out among European nations and much of the world for the way it responded to the pandemic. The government did not impose restrictions that closed down parts of the economy and instead relied on citizens’ sense of civic duty to protect the population.

Swedish authorities advised residents to practice social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants remained open.

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Follow all AP stories on the pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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Face of Sweden’s debated virus strategy gets WHO vaccine job