Health council recommends shots for toddlers
The council advises children aged between six months and four years to be vaccinated against the A(H1N1) virus.The Hague -- The health council of the Netherlands Monday recommended all young children and pregnant women to be vaccinated against the A(H1N1) virus.
Women who are over three months pregnant should be offered flu jabs.
The council advises Health Minister Ab Klink to provide flu jabs for children aged between six months and four years, so children will not risk coming down with serious flu symptoms or bronchial infections and put additional pressure on hospital intensive care units.
"Every winter, many children end up in intensive care with bronchial infections. Under normal circumstances, we can give them excellent treatment. But if 30 or 40 percent more children need this type of care because of the flu, there would be a problem," said virologist Ab Osterhaus of the Erasmus Medical Centre.
The council’s decision was welcomed by British expat Matthew Shaw who has two boys aged two and three.
For the past couple of months, Shaw and his wife were undecided as they felt the vaccine was not properly tested.
“However seeing a press conf last night on the TV, we are satisfied that it is safe. Also both my kids are older than 6 months … that makes a difference,” said Shaw.
“But there are risks on both sides … we are satisfied that, in our situation, the risk of not having the jab is higher than having it. But every parent needs to consider their own personal situation when deciding.”
Another parent, Danielle van Gastel, said she wanted to learn more before making a decision: “Under the current advice, my three-year old would get a vaccination and my five-year old (who is turning five Sunday) would not. Since it has taken the medical experts a long time to decide on this, they apparently are not quite sure what should be done with children. This suggests to me that it is not an absolute necessity.”
Van Gastel also added the recent occurrences with vaccinations for babies have made her feel less positive towards vaccinations in general.
As there is no approved vaccine for children younger than six months old, the health council also recommends their parents and other children in the family to be vaccinated.
Several young children were among the 17 people who died of swine flu in the Netherlands.
The health council said GPs should be cautious about prescribing Tamiflu for fear that the A(H1N1) virus could develop resistance.
One patient in the Netherlands was infected with a Tamiflu-resistant virus, but this proved to be an isolated incident.
The vaccination programme in the Netherlands started Monday. As vaccine stocks are still high enough to meet the needs of an extended vaccination programme, the Netherlands is sticking to two jabs per person.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica