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Q&A: Happiness, Egypt's Christians, flu shots

Happy about insurance

Regarding the world's happiest countries, how many have national health coverage?

The world's five happiest countries are Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, according to the "2013 World Happiness Report" published recently by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Denmark's health care system is funded by taxes, is largely free for services and is available to any permanent resident. Norway's system is financed through taxes, managed by local governments, and coverage is universal. Coverage also is universal in Sweden, which has a publicly financed health care system. Most health care providers are government employees. Residents of Switzerland are required to buy health insurance but can compare plans and prices among companies. The Netherlands also requires its citizens to buy private insurance plans.

The United States ranked 17th, also putting it behind Canada (6), Finland (7), Austria (8), Iceland (9), Australia (10), Israel (11), Costa Rica (12), New Zealand (13), United Arab Emirates (14), Panama (15) and Mexico (16).

The report was based on how people rated their overall satisfaction with life in areas such as economic conditions, freedom, social services, life expectancy and more.

Egypt's Christians

Many churches have been looted and burned in Egypt during recent violence. What is the Christian population in Egypt?

The percentage of Christians in Egypt is listed from 5 percent to 10 percent, depending on the source. A 2011 Pew Research Center report, based on a 2008 survey, put the number of Christians in Egypt at 5 percent, or 4 million of the country's 80 million people. However, recent media reports say that 10 percent of the Egyptian population is Christian, a number that comes from officials at the Coptic Orthodox Church, the main Christian denomination in Egypt.

The Pew Research Center warned that Christians could be undercounted in Egypt because they might be hesitant to report their religious beliefs for fear of reprisal.

Elder flu shots

What is the difference between a regular flu shot and the over-65 Fluzone high dose?

The Fluzone High-Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine is designed specifically for people who are 65 years and older because "a higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An antigen is the part of the vaccine that "prompts the body to make (the) antibody."

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email

Q&A: Happiness, Egypt's Christians, flu shots 10/30/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 31, 2013 4:42pm]
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