Anders Tegnell is chief epidemiologist with the Swedish Public Health Agency. Unlike many western countries whose health departments respond directly to elected ministers, Swedish law does not allow political intervention in agency decision making. This lack of ministerial rule seems to explain why evidence based pandemic plans were followed with minimal controversy in Sweden. Much controversy about the Swedish approach has come from beyond Sweden, where politics is a much bigger stakeholder in pandemic responses. This recent interview (22 minutes) with Tegnell shows his calm, balanced response to the complex situation his team took responsibility for.
BBC Question Time this week interviewed a diverse panel of people on the situation in the UK, where recently it has been suggested that the UK “try to move onto a war footing” in their pandemic response (Tobias Ellwood, Conservative MP). Sunetra Gupta, an Oxford University Professor of Epidemiology, is on the panel and speaks with similar humility and intelligence as Tegnell. This episode is an hour.