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5.4 million swine flu jabs saved six lives: report

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08:47 CET+01:00
A total of six lives were saved by Sweden's massive swine flu vaccination programme, according to a new report, despite 60 percent of the Swedish population getting vaccinated.

In Sweden, 60 percent of the population was vaccinated against the swine flu in 2009.

A tally carried out by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) after the pandemic had passed found Sweden ended up with a death rate of 0.31 fatalities per 100,000 people.

In Germany, where only eight percent of the population was vaccinated, the fatality figures were the same.

And in Poland, which didn't have any vaccination programme at all, the death rate was only 0.47 per 100,000 , the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper reports.

“We concluded that six fatalities were avoided by the mass vaccination programme,” Lisa Brouwers of the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet) told the newspaper.

In addition, Sweden has documented 168 cases of vaccine-related side effects, compared to only 29 in Germany.

“I feel stupid. What disappoints me most is that it was important that everyone in Sweden was vaccinated. The problem is that you don't get any sort of help afterwards,” 27-year-old Ida Andersson told the Aftonbladet newswpaper.

Andersson suffers from the sarcoidosis in her lungs, inflammation of the face, and abnormal drowsiness attributed to having been vaccinated against the swine flu.

“I don't know if I'll be sick for the rest of my life or if I'll ever get better,” she said.

So far, no explanation of the results of vaccination programmes in different countries has been carried out yet.

“The ECDC is still investigating and doesn't have any answers yet,” Johan Giesecke, head researcher at the Swedish agency, told SvD.

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Sweden's own National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) is also carrying out a review of the swine flu vaccination programme which has yet to be completed.

Lars-Olof Kalling, former head of the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control, thinks one explanation to the differences between countries may be that the flu was so mild that the vaccinations didn't make much of a difference.

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