Resistance to swine flu shots increases
About two thirds of nursing staff refused to be vaccinated against swine flu.The Netherlands – The reluctance among nursing staff to be vaccinated against the swine flu virus is increasing just weeks before the Dutch vaccination campaign kicks off.
Two thirds of nursing staff do not want to be vaccinated against the A(H1N1) virus because they fear the side effects.
Ute, who works in a home for people with a handicap, said she would not consider having the vaccine.
“For a start it is very difficult to really protect yourself against flu. Every flu jab targets a certain virus. And there are hundreds going around, so you are not protected at all. The side effects can be really serious. And it seems like there is a lot of panic-spreading going on. It is only the pharmaceutical industry that stands to benefit from it," said Ute.
The reluctance of nursing staff to be vaccinated against the A(H1N1) virus is not just limited to the Netherlands. The same phenomenon is taking place in Spain, France and Belgium.
Virologist and influenza advisor for the Belgian government, Marc van Ranst said it is impossible to persuade all nursing staff to be vaccinated.
The reluctance of the nursing staff is mainly based on ignorance, said independent nurse Tineke van der Kruk.
"I think they do not know enough about the background of the vaccination. They think it's in the interest of their institutions that they won't have too many sick employees to pay for. And I think they underestimate the disease itself and all the consequences it has."
Solution to resistance
To counter the resistance, the University Medical Centre St. Radboud in Nijmegen is in the midst of launching an information campaign for their medical staff to highlight the importance of getting vaccinated.
There, nursing staff who want to be vaccinated is 51 percent compared to a national average of around 25 percent.
For the past few years, the Nijmegen hopsital has also been carrying out information campagins in recent years to inform medical staff the importance of being vaccinated against flu virus.
Nannet van der Geest, company doctor at the hospital is not keen on compulsory vaccination campaigns like the one in the United States. Instead she believes in providing the medical staff wit the right information so they can make their own choices.
"I think it's important to give the right information and to motivate the healthcare workers. Have a little patience because when I look back, in the last few years you can see the percentage is increasing. So give it a try. I don't like to force those things."
At the end of October, the leaders of a number of medical organisations will be vaccinated during a meeting open to the public. In November, nursing staff will receive their vaccination.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica