Some of those excluded from the vaccine pass are those most dependent on EU travel.
Annie Wolohon moved to Stockholm just over two years ago, so that her partner could be close to his sons. Sadly, her partner died in early 2020. Since then Wolohon says she has been living in “limbo”, and is longing to travel home to Ireland to see friends and family for the first time in almost two years.
The reason is a ten-digit number, the Swedish social security number of personnummer which is the key to accessing services ranging from opening a bank account to joining a gym, and is used for almost all contact with Swedish authorities from doctors’ visits to paying taxes. To apply for the number, you need to meet a few criteria to prove that you have the right to reside legally in Sweden for at least one year. This often means proof of income, for example, or proof that you can support yourself.
Although Wolohon has been able to open a bank account and buy property, many parts of society remain closed off to her since her personnummer application was denied because her health insurance did not have maternity cover, even though she was aged over 50 and had already begun the menopause.
“I am not living like any normal citizen as I don’t have a personal number,” she explains. “I have been to the tax office on many different occasions and I always get a different answer.”
While EU citizens like Wolohon are allowed to move anywhere in the EU, there are still conditions – in Sweden, for example, it is only permitted to move to Sweden as a job seeker for a maximum of six months, meaning people in that situation would not get the number.
Others excluded from the system include students who will be in Sweden for less than a year, people on short-term work contracts, and others who cannot prove they have the legal right to live in Sweden for at least one year. Some of these people may be issued with a coordination number (samordningsnummer) instead, but this…