One in six high-risk patients not convinced of flu vaccine efficacy


The government wants to focus extra on at-risk patients in the flu campaign this autumn. Priority vaccination should provide this vulnerable group with the necessary protection. Nevertheless, a striking part of the population appears to be reluctant towards the vaccine. Approximately 17% of the risk group does not believe in its functioning.

7 out of 10 Belgian employees did not have a flu vaccine administered last season. This appears from a survey conducted by Mensura, external service for prevention and protection at work, among 1045 working Belgians in June. Some of those questioned indicated that they did not believe in the effects of the flu vaccine.

It is striking that even at-risk groups (people over 50, healthcare workers, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases) are very reluctant to have a flu jab. As many as 17% of high-risk patients are less convinced of the efficacy of a vaccine, despite the fact that they are more at risk. The people with whom they live will also be given priority for vaccination this autumn. If they are counted, even 31% say they don't believe in the efficacy of a flu vaccine.

Vaccination of high-risk groups extremely important

That situation is alarming. Flu vaccinations are not completely failproof, but they reduce the chances of getting the flu by 80%. Vaccination is very important for at-risk groups. A possible combination of flu and the coronavirus even makes them extra vulnerable  

At the same time, influenza vaccination is crucial in these corona times to ensure that our health system and testing capacity for corona is not overloaded in the autumn. Flu and corona symptoms are very similar. The fewer people who report sick to their GP and need to be tested, the better.

Call to employers

Gretel Schrijvers, General Director of Mensura. "This is a call to all employers: raise awareness among your at-risk employees and encourage them to get vaccinated, either through work or primary care. As an employer, you can play a decisive role for employees whether or not to be vaccinated. In fact, 68% of the people surveyed who were vaccinated last year did so at work. Of all respondents who were not vaccinated last year, 9% mentioned as one of the reasons that their employer did not offer a vaccine."

Limited stock of flu vaccines

The priority rule is the result of a possible shortage. Our country will have 2.9 million flu vaccines available, which is more than in previous years. But now that the coronavirus is also haunting the world, the demand for flu vaccines is greater than normal. From 15 November the flu vaccination will be extended to the general public. In the meantime, the government is looking into increasing the number of available vaccines. 

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