Just weeks before the Dutch vaccination campaign against influenza A(H1N1) is due to begin, the reluctance to have the vaccine is increasing. In the Netherlands, two thirds of nursing staff say they do not want to be vaccinated against the A(H1N1) virus. There is little enthusiasm for the flu jab in other European countries such as France, Belgium and Spain.
In a small pub often visited by nursing staff near Amsterdam’s university hospital, the AMC, the question “Who wants to have the vaccination?” immediately sparks a lively debate. People have their doubts.
“For me it’s not really clear whether there is a reduced risk in vaccination or not, if there is a reduced risk for the patient. And it’s not very clear so far. There are discussions on television and in the papers, but so far it’s not very clear.”
Ute, who works in a home for people with disabilities, says she would not even consider having the vaccine:
“No, I certainly wouldn’t. 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”...