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Foreign-born citizens less likely to have received COVID-19 vaccine in Sweden and Norway

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People queue to receive a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, outside the Stockholmsmassan exhibition centre in Stockholm.
People queue to receive a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, outside the Stockholmsmassan exhibition centre in Stockholm.   -   Copyright  Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency via AP
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Foreign-born residents in Sweden and Norway are more hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine, official statistics show.

More than 80% of citizens born in Sweden and aged over 80 have so far been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

But the corresponding statistics for Swedish citizens born in northern Africa is just 59%, and merely 44% for those from sub-Saharan Africa.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Norway, half of the those currently hospitalised with the virus were born outside the country.

Just two-thirds of Norwegian residents born in Pakistan aged over 75 have received their first dose of a vaccine, and only one-third of those from Somalia.

But according to Norway’s Institute of Public Health (NIPH), 95% of pensioners born in Norway have been given the jab.

Authorities are fearing that vaccine hesitancy could prolong the pandemic for several months and lead to new clusters of the virus emerging in smaller non-vaccinated communities.

In Sweden, authorities have begun developing new digital projects to encourage all citizens and communities to be inoculated.

"We have developed new ways of targeting different minority groups," said David Khabbazi, the head of Digital Strategy at The Social Few.

"This can be adjusting the language [we communicate in] or adjusting from a cultural perspective."

Khabbazi told Euronews that some communities have been misled by false rumours online that COVID-19 vaccines are costly to receive or could have dangerous side effects.

"Information and communication is about building trust, so we need to have more insight and dialogue to build trust with these different minority groups," he said.

"Historically Sweden has not had enough dialogue with these minorities and communities."

Sweden has registered more than 1 million coronavirus cases and more than 14,000 deaths, according to the nation's Public Health Agency.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has stated that most coronavirus restrictions in the country - such as limits of public gatherings and service open hours - will be extended until June 1.

Watch David Khabbazi's interview with Euronews reporter Per Bergfors Nyberg in the video player above.