What you need to know about the flu vaccine in Sweden

Sweden's annual flu vaccine is now available across the country, and people who are especially vulnerable to viruses are advised to get vaccinated.

What you need to know about the flu vaccine in Sweden
Many people in at-risk groups are offered the flu vaccine for free in Sweden. Photo: Isabell Höjman / TT

In Västerbotten in northern Sweden, several cases of seasonal influenza have already been reported.

People who are pregnant, aged over 65, or have certain health conditions including chronic heart or lung disease, are advised to get the flu vaccine in Sweden.

The vaccines are offered at drop-in centres and doctor's surgeries, with the different options available depending on the region you live in. You can find out exactly what applies in your area at the 1177 website by selecting your region. The price of the vaccination also depends on the region, and many Swedish county councils offer it for free to those in at-risk groups.

“14 cases [of seasonal influenza] have been registered in a couple of works. For now it's hard to know if this is a small outbreak or if the flu is here to stay,” epidemiologist AnnaSara Carnahan from the Swedish Public Health Agency said.

In some cases, the vaccine has already been made available, but as of Tuesday it's possible to get it wherever you are in the country.

This is two weeks later than the normal date, because the World Health Organization (WHO) had difficulties predicting which type of influenza would spread this season and therefore which vaccine should be used.

But the Public Health Agency said it did not see any risk that people would be unable to get the vaccination in time.

“It's time to get the vaccine now, before the influenza hits seriously. It will probably start to spread in December, before Christmas, but the trend can be very different across the country. We don't yet know how intensive the [flu] season will be,” said Carnahan.

Last year there were shortages of the vaccine in some areas, but that is not expected to be a problem this year.

For those who do not belong to any of the at-risk groups but would still like to be vaccinated, it's possible to do this for a fee at a vaccination clinic. 

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