Resistance to swine flu shots increases

19th October 2009, Comments 12 comments

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

12 Comments To This Article

  • JadEd posted:

    on 8th November 2009, 14:08:36 - Reply

    @Donna what about the choice of the people these people are in care of. If these people you support do not want to take extra precautions for the better of the public than they should not choose the profession of nursing!
    Can you give any data or science that proves vaccinations are more harmful than influenza itself? How can you state such false information as fact? Maybe this is your opinion but this is not a fact. Next time put in front of your sentences in my opinion blab la bla.
  • JadEd posted:

    on 8th November 2009, 13:57:39 - Reply

    Therefore, if the majority of nursing staff in The Netherlands are so ignorant that they do not see any benefits to getting a flu vaccine despite the fact they are in the medical field what does this say as to the intelligence of these nurses. What kind of education do these people get?
    If you need a campaign and to educate nurses on influenza and vaccines after they ummm got an education I think it speaks for itself as to the quality of education these medical staff get.
    I honesty do not feel that anyone in the public health sector should be so damn stupid and have a choice to put the public at risk for the sake of choice.
  • David posted:

    on 31st October 2009, 23:37:49 - Reply

    Thanks man - I will check it out next week!!
  • HTD posted:

    on 31st October 2009, 20:27:31 - Reply

    Your huisarts or GP can give you full coverage starting now. Ask your neighbors who they use as their huisarts and contact them. The huisarts is the medical gatekeeper here in the NL; make sure you have your health insurance membership number when you contact them. You probably have more than one choice, so if you still can't get anyone to recommend one simply look in the classified section of your phonebook under "Huisarts". Your Human Resources department at work may also have some suggestions. Good luck!
  • David posted:

    on 30th October 2009, 11:38:13 - Reply

    Does anybody know how Expats can get the vax? I am new to working here and have no idea at how to go about it. Nobody at work seems to care yet in Ireland, where I come from, people are all booked up to get it.

    If somebody could give me some advice on how we can get the vax I would really appreciate it :)

  • HTD posted:

    on 22nd October 2009, 09:30:06 - Reply

    I am getting my first flu shot today or tomorrow, to be followed up in two weeks by my first Mexican flu shot, then my second Mexican flu shot two weeks thereafter. These are only virus particles that are being given and not whole or socalled "live" viruses; I will be OK and I will be protected. If others want to gamble on coming in contact with live viruses through normal social contact without this protection, then they only have themselves to blame for what may take place later.
    If indeed, so many nurses here decide not to take this protection, then we could face grossly understaffed hospitals, should the flu virus rise to epidemic proportions. There may be no one left to take care of you in that case!
  • Donna posted:

    on 22nd October 2009, 01:01:00 - Reply

    Let the ones who made the vaccin use it first. If you are the maker of the vaccin, than use it on yourself and we will see if you remain alive and healthy.
  • HTD posted:

    on 21st October 2009, 22:52:41 - Reply

    This is not about whether nurses should be forced to take flu shots. It's about their lack of confidence or knowledge about the quality that goes into producing these vaccines. Nurses should be setting an example for the rest of the community, especially those most vulnerable to any flu attack. Six million died in 1918 from a particularly virulent strain of the flu. Sure flu vaccines, because of the manner in which these viruses can mutate so quickly, can never be 100% sure of preventing the flu. However, these vaccines are the best thing society has in helping prevent the type of pandemic suffered in 1918.
    This is no time for members of the scientifically trained health community to be running around hysterically and causing unrest and undo concern among the patients they are supposed to set a rational model.
    Required innoculations are nothing new. From school children to military personnel as well as those traveling to certain foreign countries, they are a basic requirement. So OK, if you do not care to receive these vaccines, then also accept that you should not be paid sick leave for having contracted the flu later.
  • Donna posted:

    on 21st October 2009, 21:57:08 - Reply

    I mean think about. Once the government tells you what to insert in your body, then who is to stop it later. That vaccin can cause neurological damage. People have died after taking the vaccin. I completely support the nurses decision!
  • Donna posted:

    on 21st October 2009, 21:53:46 - Reply

    The nurses are right. It goes against their rights to force them to take that vaccin. The vaccin is more dangerous then the flu itself. And it is against the Constitution of any country to force people to take vaccin. It's their body and they rule over it, not the government. After them, the rest of the citizens are next to take the vaccin.
  • HTD posted:

    on 19th October 2009, 15:08:21 - Reply

    When 2/3 of the nurses in the NL refuse to be vaccinated against the H1N1 virus, it makes me wonder exactly how much those rejecting protection really know about virology.
    These vaccines do not contain 'live' viruses, but only inactive particles of them. Of course, there are a great many varieties of flu viruses and they can mutate even in the process of producing a breeder stock. However, a great deal of careful research goes into selecting which viral strain can protect society the best before going into production. This review process significantly improves the odds that the virus selected will provide the best and most effective.
    In addition, modern candleing techniques used for identifying live embroyos in host chicken eggs required to cultivate these vaccines have been automated to make large production volumes possible.
    Furthermore, because of the other high costs of preliminary screening and producing multiple stock batches, most pharmaceutical firms stay away from sterile biologics altogether. There is also the fact that flu shot costs have become highly politicized since at least 1975, during the last large flu epidemic, so that with governments setting the selling price of flu shots, there is only a small margin of profit left over fully apsorbed standard cost, if that, to give incentive for investment in flu vaccine production.
  • Pat Stewart posted:

    on 19th October 2009, 11:09:06 - Reply

    As a patient on immunosuppression and therefore at fairly high risk of the more seriously reported effects of the H1N1 virus, I am appalled that so many in the nursing profession are willing to expose me to even more risk by their potential to infect me. Clearly they do not understand the vaccination programme and I expect more of my "educated" medical carers... Their complacence is very worrying.