Parents ignore swine flu vaccination programme / News / The Foreigner

Parents ignore swine flu vaccination programme. Health authorities expect further waves. 50 percent of parents living in Stavanger haven’t taken their children to be vaccinated, despite recommendations by the health authorities. Bjørn Iversen, senior medical officer at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, believes that parents and children have lulled themselves into a false sense of security regarding the swine flu.

pandemrix, swine, flu, h1n1, vaccinations, pandemic, norwegian, institute, public, health, bjoern, iversen, senior, medical, officer, stavanger, schoolchildren



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Parents ignore swine flu vaccination programme

Published on Thursday, 26th November, 2009 at 12:40 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

Health authorities expect further waves.

Pandemrix bottles
Pandemrix bottles
Photo: Alcibiades/Wikimedia Commons


False sense of immunity

50 percent of parents living in Stavanger haven’t taken their children to be vaccinated, despite recommendations by the health authorities.

Bjørn Iversen, senior medical officer at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, believes that parents and children have lulled themselves into a false sense of security regarding the swine flu.

“Some believe that the danger of infection is over as the second wave is on the decline. Young people think they’re not vulnerable, and that nothing can happen to them,” he tells The Foreigner.

The institute is unsure for the moment as to if there’ll be a third round of outbreaks, but Iversen says previous pandemics have shown that there are several waves. He recommends people take their children to be vaccinated as a precaution.

“Vaccinating children is a good way of limiting the spread, because children are the most effective transmitters of illness.”

Scepticism

But Iversen admits they have a task on their hands at a local and national level, for several reasons.

“One of the problems of the living in the Western world with its levels of prosperity and hygiene is that we don’t see serious infections anymore. We don’t relate to illness in the same way that they do in non-Western countries.”

It was also difficult to convince doctors and nurses to be vaccinated at first, he says.

“However, their attitude changed quickly when young people started dying from the swine flu, or had to be put in a respirator because of it.”

Challenges

Another problem is how the different Norwegian municipalities are organised.

“One of challenges in Norway is that all municipalities are autonomous. They decide themselves how the information should be distributed and what campaigns they should run. There are also different vaccination practices from municipality to municipality, with the worst differences occurring in separate parts of Oslo,” he says.

The way forward

But he believes that more parents will also choose to vaccinate their children if the institute, different municipalities, and health care staff explain their point of view well enough.

“Parents need to be given enough information to give them a chance to reconsider their decision, and we also have to organise groups of immunisations in a way that’s most convenient for them.”

He says he’s had the shot too.

“I didn’t jump the queue, but was giving a lecture somewhere and offered the chance to be vaccinated in my lunch hour.”



Published on Thursday, 26th November, 2009 at 12:40 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: pandemrix, swine, flu, h1n1, vaccinations, pandemic, norwegian, institute, public, health, bjoern, iversen, senior, medical, officer, stavanger, schoolchildren.





  
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