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Netherlands Plans to Immunize Most at Risk Against Swine Flu

by VR Sreeraman on August 19, 2009 at 5:38 PM
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 Netherlands Plans to Immunize Most at Risk Against Swine Flu

The Netherlands will from October offer vaccinations to about five to six million people considered to be most at risk of complications from swine flu, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

These included people with cardiac or liver diseases, diabetes and immune deficiencies; women with health problems who are more than four months pregnant; and everybody aged over 60 -- the same groups who are advised to vaccinate themselves against the ordinary, seasonal flu.

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Health practitioners and care givers who work with people from risk groups would also be vaccinated, ministry spokesman Toon van Wijk told AFP.

Health Minister Ab Klink has adopted a recommendation by the national health council and the national institute for public health that there was no need for a blanket vaccination campaign, van Wijk added.
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The Netherlands has, nevertheless, ordered 34 million doses of swine flu vaccine, enough for two doses for each of its 16.5 million inhabitants. The first batch was expected to arrive in October.

National Health Council president Andre Knottnerus told a briefing on Monday that vaccinating the entire population "is not necessary for the time being, because the virus is less virulent than we thought."

All vaccinations will be done on a voluntary basis.

More than 1,470 people in the Netherlands are confirmed to have contracted the A(H1N1) virus so far. One person has died, a 17-year-old boy who had already been sick when he contracted the flu.

Source: AFP
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