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SWINE FLU

Sweden finds funds for swine flu vaccinations

The Swedish government announced on Tuesday that one billion kronor ($142 million) has been set aside to help fund the the vaccination of the entire population against swine flu.

Sweden finds funds for swine flu vaccinations

“The government will earmark one billion kronor for the costs incurred by county councils linked to the pandemic,” Health Minister Maria Larsson said in a statement.

County councils are in charge of healthcare in Sweden and will be tasked with carrying out and paying for the mass vaccination.

Sweden has signed an agreement with British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline for the delivery of 18 million doses of the vaccine when it is ready, enough to cover its population of some 9.3 million people.

Two doses of the vaccine are needed to ensure protection from the A(H1N1) virus.

Sweden’s mass vaccination programme will be on a voluntary basis, though authorities hope to vaccinate as many people as possible. Among those who will be prioritised are those who suffer from respiratory conditions, diabetes, heart conditions and pregnant women.

According to the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL), the total cost of the vaccination programme is expected to be around 2.0 to 2.5 billion kronor, including 1.2 to 1.3 billion for the cost of the vaccine alone.

The association has recommended that the vaccination be offered free of charge to residents of Sweden.

The government hopes to begin vaccinations in late September or early October and complete the procedure by early 2010.

Vaccines against swine flu are not yet available on the market as they are still undergoing clinical trials.

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SWINE FLU

Sweden to put up signs warning against swine flu

Fear is increasing in Sweden that the African swine flu virus could spread to the Scandinavian country.

Sweden to put up signs warning against swine flu
File photo: Ingvar Karmhed / Svd / TT

The county administration in Uppsala wants all municipalities in the area to put up signs warning of the risk of infection in the area, P4 Uppland reports.

“We have received instruction from the Swedish Board of Agriculture to inform municipalities about putting up signs at barbecue areas, picnic areas and bathing areas,” Mira Amin, a veterinarian employed by the county, told the radio station.

Signs in six languages will inform the public that leftovers should be thrown into the correct receptacles, and not left out so that pigs and wild boar can get to them.

African swine fever is not dangerous to humans, but can be lethal to boar and domestic pigs. The disease can be transmitted via food such as smoked sausage or ham, according to the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

Earlier this summer, it was reported that signs will also be placed at layby and rest areas on major roadways in southern parts of the country, where wild boar are known to roam.

The Swedish measure does not go as far as in neighbouring Denmark, however.

Copenhagen made the decision last year to erect a 70 kilometre-long fence along Denmark’s border with Germany to protect itself against the disease, despite experts questioning the effectivity of such a barrier.

READ ALSO: Sweden introduces new road signs to help non-Swedish speakers

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