Norway logged its 15th swine flu fatality on Monday, after the National Hospital
(Rikshospitalet) in Oslo reported the death of a teenaged girl from Hedmark County. Vaccination programs, meanwhile, continued to spark criticism and many people are aggressively trying to jump to the front of the lines.The latest swine flu victim died Sunday evening and was among those considered at risk because of a chronic illness. It wasn’t immediately clear whether she’d been immunized.
Another young women in her 20s from Oslo died as well on Monday, three days after she’d been vaccinated. She suffered from heart disease, however, and doctors said they didn’t think her death was connected to swine flu.
State health officials therefore raised the death toll from swine flu to 15. Four of the victims have been under age 20, five were aged 20 to 40, four in the age group 40 to 60 and two were over 60.
Norway continues to suffer from a shortage of swine flu vaccine, like many other countries, and that’s forced health authorities to set priorities as to who is entitled to receive vaccinations. Those chronically ill have been at the front of the line, and then will come children and youth under age 20.
Those aged 65 and over who are in otherwise good health have lowest priority but that hasn’t stopped many from insisting that they be vaccinated immediately. Health care workers have reported being harassed and even threatened by “aggressive retirees” and other middle-aged Norwegians who don’t want to wait for their vaccinations.
One health station in Sandvika, west of Oslo, was especially plagued by impatient older Norwegians unhappy when they were turned away. One man, Hans Dieter Falkenstein, complained to newspaper Aftenposten that he had been considered “too old” to have priority in the queue.
He didn’t give up and went back to the same health care center the next day where he “managed to complain my way” through the line. He ultimately received a vaccination.
More information on the state vaccination programs is available atwww.pandemi.no.