Swine flu to cost government €780m

The health ministry’s swine flu vaccination programme will cost the government over €700m this year and another €80m in 2010, according to Friday’s Telegraaf.

This additional financial burden came to light on Thursday during ministers’ budget discussions for the coming year, the paper says.
Health minister Ab Klink ordered 34 million vaccines, enough for two injections for the total population, on the advice of the public health advisory council.
But according to confidential budget calculations, the cost of the swine flu programme can be reduced by €250m if vaccinations are only given to patients in high risk categories, the Telegraaf reports.
Vaccinations may be scaled down
Klink is expected to make a decision later this month to scale down the vaccination programme after new advice from the public heath advisory council and the public health institute RIVM, the paper says
In the coming weeks the cabinet will continue its talks on next year’s budget. All departments are expected to balance their own books which means that extra spending this year must be compensated for by cuts in 2010.
As well as the health ministry, the social affairs and justice departments also face shortfalls, reports the Telegraaf.
More budget shortfalls
Benefit payments are expected to cost the social affairs ministry over €100m next year, according to the paper, while the justice department will see its revenues fall by €80m because the income from fines has gone down.
The education ministry too faces a possible setback of €130m as a result of high childcare costs, says Friday’s Telegraaf.

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