One in four Dutch receives shot

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Around four million people have received the first flu jab against the A(H1N1) virus.

The Netherlands – Around four million people or a quarter of the total population received a jab during the first round of the Dutch vaccination programme against the A(H1N1) virus.

Nearly 76 percent of the 5.5 million high-risk patients were vaccinated.

The National Flu Vaccination Programme Foundation (SNPG) said this is comparable to the take-up for the annual seasonal flu jab, and represented the highest flu vaccination turnout in Europe.

These figures do not include the children aged between six months and five years old and family members of babies under six months who were eligible for vaccination last week.

Around a million people in this group have been called up, but no figures on the take-up are available.

After the first round of vaccinations, the Netherlands Side-effects Centre, Lareb, received 4,000 reports of possible vaccine side-effects. The majority of side-effects reported were mild reactions such as soreness or reddening around the place where the jab was administered, or fever.

Lareb reported two children died shortly after receiving the vaccination.

A three-year-old child had an existing serious heart condition while another child developed a fever after receiving the vaccination and died a day later.

The foundation could not establish a connection between the three-year-old and the vaccination.

Lareb said although the child had no symptoms to indicate a relation to the flu vaccination apart from the fever, no other clear cause of death has been identified. Both the deaths will be investigated.
New flu mutations
Virologist Ab Osterhaus of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam said mutations of the A (H1N1) virus pose no threat to public health for now.

The World Health Organisation has discovered two mutations of the A(H1N1) virus. One of them is resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu, the other aggravates patients' symptoms.

The two mutations have been diagnosed in Japan, the United States, Norway and France.

Dr Osterhaus said the flu vaccine offers adequate protection against a limited number of mutations.

"Should Tamiflu no longer be effective, there is always the vaccine", he said.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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