School in swine flu jab drive after young girl dies

School in swine flu jab drive after young girl dies
Medical authorities in Haparanda in northern Sweden have begun vaccinating all pupils at a school in the town following the swine flu-related death of an 8-year-old Finnish girl.

“We have re-prioritized, since there is a great deal of concern at the school,” Elisabet Merefält, operational manager at Haparanda clinic, told news agency TT.

“The idea was that the school would get its vaccinations a few weeks later but now we’re going to start today,” she added.

The girl lived in Tornio (Torneå) in Finnish Lapland, but went to school with one of her siblings across the border in Haparanda in the far north of Sweden.

A total of 160 pupils and 60 members of staff are to receive the swine flu vaccine at Gränsskolan (The Border School).

The girl died in her home on Monday evening. According to the Finnish ministry, she did not belong to any of the groups considered most at risk of contracting the virus.

The 8-year-old was the second person to die in Finland of a swine flu-related illness.

“We do not yet know whether swine flu was the direct cause of death. As I understand it, an autopsy will be carried out on the girl to find out more,” said Norrbotten county medical officer Anders Lund.

A memorial service is to be held for the girl at Haparanda Church on Wednesday.

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