No free tick shots despite increased risk

It’s that time of year again when body inspections are a must after a day at the park. As the summer season gets into full swing, cases of tick-borne encephalitis are on the up in Sweden.

Some 131 Swedes suffered from the nasty virus last year, nearly twice as many reported cases as at the end of the 1990s.

The Finish island Åland is now offering free vaccinations against the virus, now Sweden’s Patient’s Association against TBE and Borrelia (the bacteria that causes lyme disease) wants Sweden to do the same.

There are no plans to offer public vaccinations against TBE. According to The National Board of Health and Welfare, the tick virus is a local problem and is therefore a problem for the local agencies, Swedish Radio reports.

The most vulnerable are those who live in Stockholm County, but officials there say it would be too expensive to offer free vaccinations. The first dose costs 900 kronor and must be administered every five years.

Instead of free shots, the county council will provide information to those areas more at risk.

Lars Lindquist, a doctor working with infectious diseases at Karolinska University hospital in Huddinge, said free vaccinations in certain areas would be helpful.

“You should offer vaccinations in those areas where the sickness is more common,” he said.