Resistance to swine flu shots increases

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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

3 Comments To This Article

  • 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.