Approximately 3 million people in the Netherlands in the age category 16 years or older are about to get their annual flu jab in October or November. More than 2.4 million belong to a high-risk group.
Vaccination rate stable in high-risk group
In the winter of 2005/’06, over 22 percent in the population aged 16 years and older were vaccinated against the flu. The current flu vaccination rate is 2.5 times as high as in the winter of 1992/’93, when the first flu vaccination campaign was held.
The vaccination rate in the high-risk group has been stable in recent years around 70 percent. The high-risk group includes people suffering from cardio-vascular, lung and kidney disorders, diabetics and, in general, people with an ill-functioning immune system due to a physical disorder or medical treatment. Since 1996, all over-65s are included in the high-risk group. The recent high vaccination rate can be attributed to an increase in the number of vaccinations in the non-high-risk group.
Vaccinated persons aged 16 years and older
Key role for GP in flu vaccination campaign
More and more people are encouraged by their GP to get a flu jab. In the winter of 2005/’06, some 85 percent of flu jabs were initiated by GPs, as against only 65 percent a decade ago. Currently, no less than 90 percent of persons in the high-risk group are vaccinated by their GP.
The increase since the mid-1990s is due to the pivotal and active role of GPs in the context of the National Influenza Prevention Programme.
Initiative for flu vaccination
Employees poorly vaccinated
Absence from work due to influenza is costing the Dutch economy some hundreds of millions of euro on an annual basis. Yet, barely 4 percent of Dutch employees not included in a high-risk group have been vaccinated. More than one in five employees were vaccinated at their employer’s initiative. The differences in vaccination rate between the various sectors are marginal. In agriculture, it is close to 2 percent, in health care and welfare, it stands at 6 percent.
Vaccination rate employees by sector, 2001/2005