Vaccine shortage threatens Sweden

Sweden has the second-worst supply of Influenza vaccines in the western world, according to a new report commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The country’s low number of available vaccines diminishes the prospect of Sweden having enough to be able to cope with the next major pandemic, noted industry paper Dagens Medicin: the quantity of vaccines that a country may buy is based on early consumption of the Influenza vaccine.

“The outcome is going to be far worse for Sweden than for many other countries ,” said Annika Linde, an epidemiologist at the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI), to DM.

In 2003, 127 people per thousand in Sweden were vaccinated against Influensa. Only Norway was lower, with 102 per thousand. The UK and Germany vaccinated 200 and 210 people per thousand repectively.

The report for the WHO, which is yet to be published, was prepared by the French MIV Study Group and covered 56 countries.

On October 3rd, Sweden’s annual round of ‘flu vaccinations begins.

Earlier in the year, the country’s lack of preparedness for a major ‘flu epidemic was criticised by the government’s leading health expert, Hans Wigzell, who advised people to stockpile their own antiviral medication.

Are you worried about a bout of ‘flu? Discuss!

TT/The Local