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Sweden's National Health Agency warns of flu vaccine shortages

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Sweden's National Health Agency warns of flu vaccine shortages
Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB Scanpix/TT
20:18 CET+01:00
Sweden’s National Health Agency has warned that there are local shortages of the flu vaccine across the country.
In light of the shortages, the agency has called on local officials to prioritize as needed. To be given first priority are those in certain medical risk groups, including pregnant woman and adults and children older than six months who have diseases or other medical conditions that would increase their risk of developing a severe influenza infection. 
 
Following that group, the vaccine should be prioritized for otherwise healthy people over the age of 65 and then healthcare personnel and others who come in contact with people with severe immune deficiencies. 
 
Vaccination shortages were first reported in Södermanland County in mid-November, but a health official there told broadcaster SVT that there were similar shortages throughout the country. The National Health Agency officially confirmed the shortages last week.
 
AnnaSara Carnahan, an epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, said the shortage is due to increased demand. 
 
“Roughly the same number of doses have been ordered and delivered as usual – around 1.5 million. But for unclear reasons, the demand has been greater than expected. More people simply want to be vaccinated,” she told news agency TT. 
 
Although the National Health Agency states that all adults can “benefit” from vaccinations, it only officially recommends that those 65 and over, pregnant woman and “persons with certain underlying diseases” get an annual influenza vaccination. 
 
If you have fallen ill with the flu, it’s recommended that you start by calling 1177, a free healthcare phoneline where you’ll be able to speak to a nurse in Swedish or English. 
 
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