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swine flu

"We still would have pressed the button for vaccination"

Published tisdag 1 mars 2011 kl 11.44
"This was definitely a serious threat"
(4:28 min)
Almost 60 percent of the Swedes lined up to get the swine flu vaccine.

Sweden handled the swine flu crisis fairly well, according to an evaluation by the Swedish Contingency Agency and the National Board of Health and Welfare in cooperation with the Institute for Communicable Disease Control. But in the face of recent criticisms that the swine flu threat was drastically overblown, did Sweden overreact?

"It was a pandemic. There's no question about that," Anders Tegnell, who heads one of the units at the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, tells Radio Sweden. 

"It followed all the criteria that experts all over the world have created to define what is a pandemic," says Tegnell. "We had young people dying from flu. We don't ever see that normally," says Tegnell.

"Looking back, I don't think we would have acted differently," says Johan Carlson, the director general of the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control. "We would have improved surveillance (keeping track of outbreak cases), communication, etc., but I think we still would have pressed the button for vaccination, yes," says Carlson. 

The report by the three authorities finds that the mass vaccination programme was fast and effective, and managed to hinder the disease from spreading.

However, the evaluation admits that some target groups, such as young people and immigrants who have Swedish as a second language, did not get enough information.

Between 240,000 and 610,000 Swedes are thought to have been affected by the swine flu virus, but only 31 people died. Sixty percent of Swedes were vaccinated.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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