Dutch take swine flu threat more seriously

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Resistance towards swine flu vaccines seems to have decreased as more children are infected with the A(H1N1) virus.

The Netherlands – The Dutch are now taking the threat posed by the swine flu more seriously, said Roel Coutinho of the National Institute of Public Health (RIVM).

According to the Dutch Family Doctors Society, 95 percent of people with flu symptoms are found to be infected with the A(H1N1) virus.

As the number of young children being infected with the virus increases, Professor Coutinho said there is a shift in public opinion.

Before, people questioned the need for vaccinations. But now, people ask why the vaccines were not available earlier, said Coutinho who hoped that more people will be now prepared to receive vaccination.

Resistance of the nurses towards the vaccination remained high as seen on a website for nurses, nursing.nl where the healthcare workers discuss about the pros and cons of being vaccinated.
On Tuesday, family doctors received the first flu vaccine batches. They will inoculate people from risk groups next week.

Meanwhile, the Dutch Family Doctors Society said the flu has started spreading on a large-scale in the Netherlands.

Last week, the RIVM announced that another four people have died of A(H1N1) virus, bringing the death toll to 10. The victims were a girl aged 4, a boy aged 6, a 25-year-old man and a woman of 56. Three of them had underlying health problems.
More than 5,700 people have died of swine flu worldwide since A(H1N1) was first uncovered in April, with most of the deaths recorded in the Americas, according to the World Health Organisation.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

3 Comments To This Article

  • JadeEd posted:

    on 4th November 2009, 12:12:50 - Reply

    I want to make clear on my previous statements that everyone is recommended to get a vaccine except those who are allergic to ingredients and those under 6 months of age. I acccidently omitted that information.
    You can find ref to this information and more on AH1N1 influenza at



  • JadeED posted:

    on 4th November 2009, 12:02:11 - Reply

    To get the vaccinate or not? Why is their so much focus on this debate when you do not really have a choice of the vaccine here in The Netherlands? Since the beginning of preparing for the pandemic AH1N1 virus, the RIVM has clearly stated they do not intend to offer the vaccine to the entire Dutch public. You may not request the vaccine. It is not your choice to get it or not get it unless you are deemed to qualify by the RIVM.
    The real arguments on this subject should be as to why this vaccine has not been offered to the entire Dutch public. People should be questioning why the vaccine was prioritized as it is and why some of the highest risk groups such as children and pregnant woman are not either being offered the vaccine or they are put at lower priorities over the very lowest of risk groups of contracting this disease such as all people over 60 years of age.
    I feel most the Dutch doctors who are only parroting the RIVM and are giving counsel that has from the beginning gone against most of the advice and information from the WHO, CDC two of many more such organizations that advise that everyone should get the vaccine for AH1N1/Mexican Flu. The only exception would be those who are allergic to its ingredients. In fact, the only reason why the WHO and the CDC advised to prioritize vaccines was for in the event there was a supply and or logistics issue of getting the vaccine to the public. EVERYONE should be offered the vaccine.
    Please read this public document http://www.rivm.nl/cib/binaries/Vaccination against pandemic influenza A H1N1 2009_tcm92-62615.pdf
    dated from last summer from the RIVM, it fully discloses that the RIVM was well aware of children, the young and pregnant woman being at serious risk over all other healthy age groups.
    The RIVM has had and currently are deciding if they will sell the surplus of the vaccine. Therefore, the RIVM went against offering this vaccine to the entire Dutch public not because they did not order enough vaccine, not because they did not know better of risk groups, and not because they were not informed or advised to do so. I cannot say what their reasoning and judgment is in regards to the decision for us all. However, I can say it disturbs me to hear of the RIVM discussing the sale of surplus of the vaccine after making these informed decisions.
    If you read the latest statements of the RIVM, they project that they are considering a vaccination program for children because of very recent information of the risk of death and serious illness to young people and children. However, this is not the full picture. The RIVM new a while ago the risk to children and these facts are not new or very recent.
    In addition, the RIVM was aware this disease is a burden to the young not just children yet there is not any discussion to vaccinate this risk group. In fact if you are older than 60 according to the research you are very unlikely to be infected with the AH1N1 flu.
    The RIVM latest statements of AH1N1 flu in reference to the recent deaths of children are presented in a tone that this is a fluke and nothing to worry about. In fact, little information is given about these deaths from the RIVM or the Media. I cannot help but wonder why and how these children died so quickly. Why did a four-year-old child who was previously healthy die of this flu after being told by her huisarts to “sick it out”? Was she seen by the huisarts after the parents called not once but twice? What was her condition at the time if she indeed saw the huisarts? Where the parents made of aware of the emergency symptoms of distress for children in her age group? What were the circumstances that lead a previously healthy young child to go to bed and have her parents find her dead the next morning?

    To imply this is a normal flu is simply not responsible or true. The deaths of this child and other children fit a concerning pattern of the AH1N1 virus. These deaths are not normal for the average seasonal flu virus.
    The average normal seasonal flu deaths are of the elderly and the infirm. Approximately 90% of deaths of seasonal flu show to be those in this group.
    Only yesterday did the RIVM disclose the symptoms of distress for children and adults. This information was available from the CDC and WHO months ago. It feels like a reactive response at best but in my opinion not acted quickly enough. Why wait with such vital and important information?
    I cannot say any lives would have been spared as in the case of the little girl if this information were sooner made available to the public however, I can honestly say it is life saving information put out much later than many other parts of the world.
    I can only surmise than the RIVM and The Dutch government support the idea that lack of information is good for the Dutch public as to not cause them to panic. To keep them quiet so they do not ask too many questions and make too many demands. If and when the public wake up the RIVM will as quietly as possible make information available as they reacted to the recent deaths of children in The Netherlands.
  • JadeED posted:

    on 4th November 2009, 11:57:02 - Reply

    I feel people should not just believe my words or any words blindly, read and research AH1N1 influenza and the vaccine yourself from several sources. Ask questions and question those who give you answers. Check the facts and yes consider opinions. Do not confuse concern with panic and trust your instincts. Do not let yourself get caught up in a debate of opinion and be motivated to learn the facts and become educated on the subject. It is a choice to take whatever actions you feel is best for yourself and family members. Do your best to keep yourself and your family healthy and in the end that is the best you can do. If you are not getting answers, feel you are being denied the right to have the best option for you and your family VOICE it. Write the RIVM, the Queen, and the Newspapers, contact your countries embassy if you are not a Dutch citizen, do all you can to make yourself heard.