Flu vaccine campaign to focus on risk groups

The campaign to vaccinate people against swine flu or the H1N1 virus is to focus on at-risk groups rather than the general population, the national health council said on Monday afternoon.

The over-60s, people with heart and lung problems and women who are more than three months pregnant are among those who will be first called up to be vaccinated. People who work in the health service and family members caring for people considered at risk will also be given priority.
But a general call-up is no longer considered necessary because the flu appears to be milder than first thought, the Telegraaf reports.
The government has ordered 34 million doses of vaccine – two for every person in the country. The vaccine is still being developed and the first batch is not expected before October.
The Telegraaf reports that pensioner groups are concerned the over-60s are being singled out because until now they had been assumed to be less at risk. ‘They are now suddenly being seen as a risk group and that hurts,’ a spokesman for one pensioners’ lobby group told the paper.
The ACP police union said it was disappointed police officers were not considered priority cases.
The health council said in total it expects up to six million people will be vaccinated against swine flu.
Last week, health minister Ab Klink said the cost of fighting swine flu in the Netherlands could be as high as €700m. So far, some 1,500 people have been diagnosed with the disease in Holland.
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