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SWINE FLU

Further deaths linked to swine flu vaccine

Health investigators are under more pressure as two elderly women are reported to have died, days after receiving the swine flu vaccine. It brings the total number of deaths linked to the vaccine in Sweden to four.

The two latest deaths were reported to the Swedish Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket) on Friday.

A 74-year-old woman from Sollefteå in northern Sweden died four days after receiving the swine flu vaccine.

The woman, who suffered from heart and lung disease, was classified as a high-risk patient.

“Naturally a report will be undertaken,” said Dr. Markus Kallionen in a press statement released by Västernorrland County Council.

“We must take this case seriously and investigate what has happened.”

A further case of a 90-year-old woman who also died after receiving the vaccine has been reported by newspaper Expressen.

Läkemedelsverket are currently investigating circumstances surrounding the deaths of two high-risk patients, a 50-year-old man with a serious heart condition and woman with an acute muscle disease.

“It’s important to says that they had complicated illnesses,“ Gunilla Sjölin Forslund from Läkemedelsverket told news agency TT.

“We still do not know if the deaths are connected to the vaccine.”

Sweden launched a mass vaccination programme in a bid to control the flu pandemic on October 12th.

Cases of swine flu reached record levels last week with 198 new cases in comparison to 93 the previous week.

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VACCINE

Five of Sweden’s regions open Covid-19 vaccine booking to all over-18s

Västra Götaland will open up Covid-19 vaccination booking to all over-18s on Thursday, a full month ahead of schedule, making it one of five Swedish regions offering the vaccine to all adults. At the same time, Stockholm and Skåne have opened up to more young adults.

Five of Sweden's regions open Covid-19 vaccine booking to all over-18s
The Covid-19 vaccine is becoming available to people in lower and lower age groups. Photo: Erik Mårtensson / TT

Currently Norrbotten, Jönköping, Sörmland, and Västernorrland are offering appointments for Covid-19 vaccines to all adults over the age of 18, with several other regions following suit in the next few days. 

While age groups and availability differ across the regions, most regional health departments are asking that people don’t travel to different regions in order to access the vaccine earlier.

From later today, booking will also open to all over-18s in Västra Götaland. This is a month ahead of schedule, with the plans being changed due to decrease in booking numbers and to make the process simpler for residents and vaccine providers.

Other regions are slowly opening up appointments to younger age groups, with the timing dependent on availability of vaccines and the take-up rate among older age groups. 

Vaccination booking was set to open to everyone over 18 in Halland from July 2nd and in Örebro from July 12th, at the time of publication.

The two other major city regions, Stockholm and Skåne, have also extended the age groups eligible for booking although the youngest adults cannot yet book a time. In Stockholm, vaccination opened on Tuesday to people born in 1991 or earlier, and in Skåne booking will open to those born in 1996 or earlier as of Wednesday evening.

The Skåne region said in a statement: “The take-up of vaccinations in the 25-29 age group will determine whether we can release vaccine slots to all aged over 18 next week.” 

People over 18 and in a Covid-19 risk group (including those with weakened immune systems, diabetes, or receiving disability support, and other conditions) can already get the vaccine in all regions across the country. 

The vaccine is free and voluntary. You are eligible to get a free vaccine if you live here, even if you do not have a Swedish personnummer, but you might need to call your doctors’ office directly in that case.  

Currently, anyone aged 18 and over in Norrbotten can make an appointment for vaccination. 

  • To book, either log in via 1177.se and book a time at a doctor’s office or vaccination centre, or call 010-452 63 03 on weekdays between 9-4pm. If you call, you will be put in a queue and called back, which may take several days due to the high call volume.

Sörmland is offering the Covid-19 vaccine to all people who are 18 years or older. 

  • You can book by logging into 1177.se, which requires a digital ID, or by calling 016-10 40 44 on weekdays between 8-5pm. You can find more information here

The vaccination is now available to everyone over 18 in Västernorrland.

  • You need to book a slot directly with the doctor’s office; contact details are available from 1177. You can also use the app, MittVaccin. BankID is not required, but you do need a personnummer to book online. You can call 0611-804 00 for assistance, which is open on weekdays from 8-4pm and weekends from 10-4pm. 

Jönköping opened to over-18s on Wednesday:

  • People who are eligible for the vaccination can book via 1177.se or the region’s health site, or directly via the doctor’s offices offering vaccinations, which you can find here. You do not need a digital ID to do this, but if you can’t book online you should ring the doctor’s office directly.

Västra Götaland has just opened up booking to all adults aged over 18.  

  • The region advises people who are eligible to book directly at your doctor’s office, preferably via 1177.se, which has contact details for doctor’s offices. 

The Public Health Agency is aiming to have all adults offered at least the first dose of the vaccine by mid-September. Then the roll out is set to begin for those between 16 and 18. 

This information was correct to the best of our knowledge on June 30th.

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