Sweden introduces mandatory vaccination for church, like Denmark


Northern Europe


The Swedish church must, just as the Danish, ask for a corona pass. Photo AFP, Jonathan Nackstrand

Swedish churches utter harsh criticism towards their government for new corona measures. Sweden will introduce required vaccination certificates for gatherings of more than 100 people at indoor events. This includes church visits.

From December 1st onward, only the fully inoculated will be able to visit gatherings of more than 100 people in Sweden. This affects the country’s denominations. Many worshipers would be forced to produce evidence that they have been vaccinated to enter the church. This doesn’t only apply to the Church of Sweden, but many other so-called free churches, such as the many Pentecostals.

The anger from Swedish church leaders is palpable after the government’s announcement on Wednesday. The Secretary-General of the Swedish Christian Council (SKR), Sofia Camnerin, has repeatedly stated that she does not want to see vaccine passes for worshipers. When the Swedish Christian daily Dagen interviewed her in August, she also said that the message from the government was that vaccination passes for religious communities were not relevant. “It was at a council on May 24th where Minister of Digitization Anders Ygeman said that it is not relevant for churches, that it only applied to the really big events.”

Camnerin hopes that churches will not be affected by the requirement for vaccination passes. Still, so far, in the proposals, there is no exception for religious communities.


The Archbishop of the Church of Sweden, Antje Jackelén, is also not amused by the new regulations. Jackelén has become increasingly critical and now raises her voice again as she believes that the churches are once again being ignored when new restrictions are introduced.

“Religious communities are no longer prepared to take the consequences of the inconsistent rules that have applied during the pandemic. We would have liked greater trust and more flexibility from the government and the Swedish Public Health Agency”, states Jackelén in a press release, via SKR’s press release.

Wider Scandinavian model

The Swedish approach fits into to wider Scandinavian model. In Denmark, churches that have more than 200 worshipers have to ask for a corona pass. According to Kristeligt Dagblad, this is controversial, but it is still the rule.

The Danish minister of Church and Culture, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, says in an interview with the KD that the rule is there to keep churches safe and open.

Norway is thinking about going in the same direction as well.



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