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500,000 more swine flu vaccine doses on the way

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16:22 CET+01:00
County health authorities in Sweden are set to receive half a million more doses of the swine flu vaccine on Tuesday.

And starting in two weeks, a million doses will be delivered every week.

Tuesday's shipment of vaccines is headed toward vaccination centres at local health clinics, schools, and paediatric clinics.

“Everything that arrived in Sweden this morning is heading out today according to our delivery plans, so tomorrow county councils will have the vaccine at the addresses they've chosen to have it sent to,” Britt-Marie Eriksson from the Posten Logistik delivery firm told the TT news agency on Monday.

The county council in Uppsala said in a statement on Monday that its vaccine deliveries have been delayed and won't arrive until Wednesday.

According to Eriksson, one reason may be that county health authorities in Uppsala asked that the vaccine first be sent to the state bacteriological laboratory (SBL) in Solna near Stockholm, where the doses will then be packed for delivery to the county's various vaccination stations.

Supplies of the swine flu vaccine have gone fast in recent weeks, as demand for protection against the A/H1N1 virus has increased, resulting in long queues at many health clinics.

According to Anita Lundin from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), demand is likely to remain high, but supplies will last longer as more children become vaccinated.

“Children up to 12-years-old only need a half-dose, so it's enough for significantly more children than adults, as you can vaccinate two children for every one adult,” she told TT.

“If the vaccine runs out, it's because demand is temporarily greater than supply and that the vaccinations are being administered more effectively. I think it's really positive that we can affect the outcome (of the vaccination campaign).”

Next week, 600,000 doses of swine flu vaccine are set to be delivered across Sweden, before deliveries jump to one million doses the following week.

“I'm assuming that county councils are planning vaccinations according to supplies of the vaccine and that the plans they've set up will be followed. But if they are more efficient, people may view that as indicating a shortage,” said Lundin.

Sweden's county councils, which are responsible for administering the country's healthcare system, have elected to slightly different solutions, depending on local conditions, geographic distribution, and demographics.

“Some have chosen to call patients in to be vaccinated, other are operating more like an open house. When it's an open house, people say it's chaotic and when they are called, people thing it takes too long,” said Lundin.

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