Group launches anti-vaccine campaign

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A group of Norwegians who admit to having no medical background say they oppose the swine flu vaccinations now being made available to the general public, arguing they can be dangerous. Meanwhile, two more persons have died from swine flu in Norway, bringing the death toll to 20.

A man in his 40s died at the Akershus University Hospital after several days in intensive care, while a 12-year-old boy died at home in Sarpsborg. Both were infected with the swine flu virus.

The death rate from swine flu continues to be higher in Norway than elsewhere but health authorities have said it’s the same virus found in Europe. “We have started a probe of all the fatalities to find out if there is anything else that’s setting us apart from the rest of Europe,” state health director Bjørn-Inge Larsen told newspaperDagsavisen.

While many townships around Norway complain that they’re not receiving enough swine flu vaccine to meet demand, others have emerged as opponents of the vaccination program. A group calling itselfVaksineaksjonen ran a full-page ad in national newspaper Dagbladet this week, urging Norwegians not to accept the vaccine.

The group contends the vaccine can be dangerous, and that state health authorities have “lied” to the public and withheld relevant “facts and information” about the vaccine.

“We have done enough research to stand for the points we’re making,” one of the leaders of the group, Kjetil Dreyer, told Aftenposten. He runs an online service selling alternative products and says his “spiritual” quests have given him “deep knowledge” of the factors steering human life.

Asked whether he fears that people accepting his message may wind up becoming seriously ill, he said “not at all,” adding that “we are informing people” but that everyone “must make their own decision whether to be vaccinated or not.”

Another member of the anti-vaccine group, Ingunn Røiseland, wrote a commentary in newspaper Telemarksavisa raised a suggestion that the US’ CIA is behind the vaccination programs, with the intention planting GPS chips in people. She refused to comment on the commentary, saying it could be taken out of context.

The state health institute Folkehelseinstituttet counters the group’s claims and earlier has reported that an estimated 630,000 Norwegians are now sick or have been sick with swine flu.

More information on the state vaccination programs is available at www.pandemi.no.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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