Health officials are recommending that children aged six months to four years be vaccinated against swine flu as a matter of priority, Nos tv reports on Monday, quoting health council sources.
The AD also claims the health council is set to recommend health minister Ab Klink backs vaccinating young children because international statistics show they are more at risk.
The health council and health minister are due to hold a news conference later today.
The vaccinations will be carried out by local health boards, who will set up mass vaccination centres in sports halls, possibly by the end of this week, the Nos says.
Several young children are among the 17 people who have died of swine flu in the Netherlands.
A survey for the children’s tv news programme Jeugdjournaal shows that one in 10 children want to be vaccinated against the virus because they are worried they are going to die.
But 62% of the 2,072 children polled don’t want an injection at all. Most think the vaccination is unnecessary. But 25% are scared of injections and 19% think ‘it won’t help anyway’.
Family doctors will today begin the mass vaccination programme of other at-risk groups. The elderly, health service workers, pregnant women and people with other health risks are the first groups to be called up. Vaccination is not compulsory.
But not everyone supports the mass vaccination programme. The Volkskrant reports that a ‘fear of vaccinations is flooding the Netherlands’. One group is distributing postcards featuring a Mexican hat and a no-entry sign. The Netherlands still calls the H1N1 virus Mexican flu.
A website has been set up where people can register their objection to the vaccination. And academics and health officials are being bombarded with emails containing ‘shocking information’ about the ‘direct risk’ of the vaccines, the paper says.
‘It is not the vaccines which will soon be causing deaths but these unsubstantiated ideas, which are stopping people getting themselves vaccinated,’ Leiden University professor Louis Kroes told the Volkskrant. ‘This flu is much more dangerous than any side effect. If you are a member of an at-risk group, it is sensible to get vaccinated.’
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