Swine flu vaccinations underway in Sweden

The largest vaccination programme in Swedish history got underway on Monday as health workers in the south of the country received the first shots to protect against the swine flu.

Swine flu vaccinations underway in Sweden

Hospital workers lined up at Malmö University Hospital to be among the first people in Sweden to receive vaccinations against the AH1H1 virus.

“The initial rush hasn’t been that big, as many didn’t know it was going to start today already. But from Tuesday, we’re expecting there will be a steady flow of people who will want to be vaccinated,” infectious diseases specialist Sven Haidel, head of vaccination efforts in Skåne County, told the TT news agency.

The swine flu vaccine arrived in the area on Monday morning before being distributed in refrigerated trucks to ten nearby hospitals.

Health authorities in a number of other Swedish counties told TT that they expect to start their own vaccination programmes later in the week, while others won’t commence for a few more weeks.

At the university hospital in Malmö, a staff cafeteria was converted into a vaccination centre where healthcare personnel from the regional and local level were among the first to be vaccinated on Monday.

“We calculate we can vaccinate 1,000 people every day,” said hospital spokesperson Hans-Göran Boklund.

While there is no nationwide overview of Sweden’s vaccination schedule, the primary campaign starts on Monday of next week, although a number of clinics are expected to start vaccinating people as soon as they receive the vaccine, according to infectious diseases doctor Ann Söderström.

The County Council in Västernorrland in northern Sweden plans to start vaccinating people starting on Thursday of this week.

“We’ve planned and prepared for a long time, so we just need to kick things off,” said head doctor Markus Kallioinen.

Health authorities in Sörmland will begin injecting people on Tuesday of this week.

So far, most county health authorities haven’t noticed a surge in demand from the public for vaccination against the swine flu.

“You can’t really compare with how it was a month ago when we had a few fatalities in Sweden. Then the pressure was huge and we received a lot of phone calls. But now it’s pretty relaxed,” said Uppsala County spokesperson Jessica Elgenstierna to TT.

The scene in Västerbotten in northern Sweden is also far from hectic, despite reports last week of a swine flu outbreak at a school in Skellefteå.

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Turkey forms ‘permanent committee’ to assess Swedish Nato deal

Turkey on Thursday said a new "permanent committee" would meet Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess if the two nations are complying with Ankara's conditions to ratify their Nato membership bids.

Turkey forms 'permanent committee' to assess Swedish Nato deal

Finland and Sweden dropped their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of
February. All 30 Nato members must ratify the accession.

Nato member Turkey has demanded the extradition of dozens of suspected “terrorists” from both countries under an accession deal the three signed last month.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to “freeze” the process over Sweden and Finland’s failure to extradite the suspects.

He accuses them of providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants. “If these countries are not implementing the points included in the
memorandum that we signed, we will not ratify the accession protocol,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed in a televised interview.

He said the committee would meet in August but provided no details.Turkey’s parliament has broken for its summer recess and will not be able
to hold a ratification vote before October. Some Turkish officials have warned that the process may drag out until next year.