Moving to Sweden means there will always be something that pops up that you didn’t think about. Like a global flu pandemic for example. It will get you every time. Luckily, the swine flu vaccinations began yesterday in southern Sweden. Apparently it is the largest vaccination program in Swedish history. Which I suppose makes sense because the Swedish population, as a general rule, has increased throughout history. Weird how that works.
One of those benefits of living in a country with the second highest tax burden in the world is trying to use the programs which I am funding. And I am funding health care. Of course, considering I am the picture of health what with my stationary bike riding next to men with moobs and all, I don’t use health care. In fact, in all the time I have lived here, I’ve only managed to use the Swedish health care system once. But I think I’m going to use it again.
After months of morbidly waiting for the flu to run rampant hoping that my genes are strong enough to withstand the onslaught, I’m thinking it’s probably not that big of a deal. But I love my fellow-man so am now considering getting vaccinated. Plus, I love free things. After speaking with my biologist friend and reading one newspaper article (I am easily swayed) I’ve been informed that if 50% of the population is vaccinated, it’s good. It’s not until the 70-80% rate that the vaccination really start making a difference.
The swine flu, or H1N1 so I don’t hurt any pig farmers’ feelings, is alive and well in Stockholm. But so is the vaccine. This being Sweden, the vaccine is being offered free of charge. The vaccine is being phased in. This still being Sweden, the phase-in is referred to by weeks.
We’re in Week 42 which obviously means it is time to vaccinate the at-risk group. Pregnant women for example which excludes me. This is followed by a week (Week 43) of even more pregnant women. Considering the population growth of Sweden is just over 0.15% there sure are a lot of pregnant women to vaccinate. Week 44 is the public health workers like nurses and doctors. I am still excluded. Finally, in Week 45, the general public, your standard Svensson if you will, can be vaccinated.
When I say the general public I really mean the general public. Everyone. Even non-citizens who just happen to be staying in Stockholm for a solid amount of time can be vaccinated. My understanding is that this includes everyone from refugees to students. Exchange students throughout Stockholm can thank me and my taxes by buying me a beer.
If you’re looking for a clinic near you (and by near you I mean near me as in the Stockholm area), click here for VårdGuiden’s search page. On the right click on “Vaccination svininfluensan,” that being Swedish for the swine flu vaccination. I know, I know, it’s a good thing I was here to translate that one for you. When you click on it, you should see it pop up in the “Vad?” field. Under “Vad?” is “Var?” click and find your city and you should be good to go. Or just use Google translate.
Welcome to Sweden. And my attempts at avoiding the swine flu.
For information on vaccinations in Stockholm in Swedish: När, var och varför ska jag vaccinera mig?
For information on vaccinations in Stockholm in English: Swine influenza