It’s been 2 weeks now since we got our H1N1 (called svininfluensan or nya (new) influesensan here) vaccinations so in theory was should be safe to come back to virus-filled North America now. This is the first flu shot I have ever received and wasn’t planning on this one, but Catherine convinced me that I should get it if even just to be a good public health citizen. Although we were unlikely to get severely ill we could still pass the virus on to others who are at higher risk. Plus taking two transatlantic flights during the winter is just asking to get exposed to all sorts of germs.
The pandemic didn’t hit Europe nearly as hard as North America and the lines for vaccinations were much more orderly – no North American style free for all. In Sweden especially things went quite smoothly. In our lan (~province) every household got a handout detailing when/where the clinics were and who was eligible each week. They started with high risk groups and then split up by age groups and alphabetically by last name so that the demand at each clinic would be spread out. We only waited about 10 minutes to get our shots even though the clinic was also giving out the seasonal flu shots to older folks at the same time. The last count I saw 4 million out of 9 million Swedes had been vaccinated – by far the highest percentage in Europe where an estimated 10 million people on the entire continent have had the shot.