Sweden Faces Drastic Decrease in Childbirths Coinciding in Time With COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign
Regarding COVID-19, Sweden ranks among the most-vaccinated nations in the world, with the vaccine uptake level among people aged 12 and over reaching 87.1 percent.
The number of newborns in Stockholm has decreased sharply this year, reaching its lowest point since 2005, and similar trends are seen in the rest of the country.
Only 3,858 children were born in Stockholm, Sweden's largest city with a population of about a million, during the first quarter of this year. This is wholly 14 percent fewer than during the corresponding period last year.
Since autumn, the number of clients in maternity centers has also decreased by about 11 percent.
The City of Stockholm has no explanation for the drastic decline in births.
“It is a larger reduction in childbearing than one could expect and that really stands out as it applies not only to Stockholm, but also the rest of the country,” Johanna Barane, head of statistics and analysis at Stockholm City told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
Given matching trends throughout entire country, Statistics Sweden has been forced to write down its birth forecasts for 2022.
“We have never seen anything like this before, that the rock bottom is reached in just a single quarter,” Stockholm University professor in demography Gunnar Andersson told Dagens Nyheter.
Remarkably, the phenomenon largely coincides with the broad vaccination campaign against COVID-19.
“Timewise, it is related with the mass vaccination program in April-May last year,” Gunnar Andersson, emphasized. “Demographers in other parts of Europe are seeing the same timing as well,” Andersson added.
Sweden is among the most-vaccinated nations in the world, with the uptake level in people aged 12 and over reaching 87.1 percent. A total over 21.5 million doses have been administered in a nation of 10 million, with the most vulnerable risk groups eligible for re-vaccination. The Central Bank of Sweden concluded that efficient vaccination against COVID-19 had macroeconomic benefits.
Like many Western nations, Sweden is seeing a fertility rate below the rate of reproduction, and relies on immigration to make up the difference. In 1999, Sweden reached its lowest total fertility rate since the 1970s, at merely 1.5 children per woman. Childbearing increased somewhat during the 2000s up to 2010 but declined thereafter. In 2021, the total fertility rate was 1.67 children per woman.