Survey confirms vaccination fatigue among Germans: only one in four vaccinated against flu
The Germans are tired of vaccinating. This emerges from a survey carried out by the opinion research institute "YouGov" on behalf of the "dpa" news agency.
According to the results of a survey by the polling institute "YouGov", two thirds of Germans do not want to be vaccinated against the flu this year. According to the Berlin Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the vaccination rate is roughly the same as in previous years, but especially in the risk groups for whom the RKI has given an express vaccination recommendation, the health risk of the flu is often underestimated. What has been observed for a long time with the flu vaccination, however, increasingly applies to the necessary booster vaccinations against infectious diseases such as polio, smallpox, measles, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. According to the RKI's Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO), only 30 percent of adults in Germany still have antibodies in protective amounts because the booster vaccinations have been neglected.
Swine flu no reason for more vaccinations 26 percent of 1,029 respondents in the representative survey by “YouGov” stated that they had already been protected against flu by vaccination, six percent wanted to get vaccinated during the winter. The RKI explained that the vaccination quota for flu remains roughly at the previous year's level. According to the results of the YouGov survey, the recurrence of swine flu is also no reason for most Germans to protect themselves through vaccination. Only 21 percent of those vaccinated or willing to vaccinate in the poll of the polling institute gave the pork rib (H1N1) as a personal reason for the flu vaccination. Overall, however, the Germans do not only seem a little careless with the flu vaccinations. The experts also observed that the basic vaccinations against the above-mentioned diseases - such as polio, diphtheria, whooping cough and others - were revitalized and that the period for the revitalization was not observed and that there were gaps in vaccination protection.
Refreshing basic vaccinations is neglected "We keep finding that many do not get regular updates of the basic vaccinations when they come to us for travel vaccinations," emphasized Professor Hans Dieter Nothdurft from the Tropical Institute at the University Hospital Munich. The "most likely (...) thought of tetanus", but other vaccinations such as whooping cough or polio are neglected, according to the expert. In general, STIKO recommends that adults refresh their vaccinations against tetanus and diphtheria every ten years, although "recently (...) with the refresher, vaccinations against whooping cough (pertussis) are recommended", said Nothdurft. According to the expert, people who have close professional or private contact with children should protect themselves with a booster vaccination, since "small children (...) are mainly infected by adults". The fact that many Germans treat their booster vaccinations relatively carelessly is due, among other things, to the fact that no one in the population knows the horrors of the diseases, since these have hardly occurred in Germany since vaccination programs have been in place. For example, no diphtheria case has been reported in Germany since 2000.
Flu vaccination: worry about the side effects When it comes to the flu vaccination, the situation is fundamentally a little different, since this must be done almost annually, which means that those affected must regularly decide on a suitable vaccination. In addition, STIKO does not recommend a flu shot to every German, but is limited to people with chronic medical conditions, people over the age of 60, pregnant women and medical staff. The Federal Association of Pediatricians also advocates immunizing all children, as the doctors have determined "that the number of sick children in medical practices is increasing," emphasized the association president Wolfram Hartmann. In addition, children are the main transmitters of swine flu and, on the other hand, are particularly at risk because their immune systems are not yet mature, explained Hartmann. However, given the problems that have emerged with the side effects of the swine flu vaccine in the past year, reservations remain in the population. 42 percent of the respondents in the YouGov survey said they were worried about possible side effects, even though experts like the RKI vaccination expert Ole Wichmann emphasize that the current flu vaccine is very well tolerated and there are no concerns that “there are significant side effects”.
Vaccination for certain diseases? Overall, the Germans feel relatively well informed about swine flu. Around two thirds (64 percent) of the respondents in the YouGov survey stated that they felt well informed about the subject of swine flu. Only 22 percent said they still had knowledge gaps. Another result of the survey is that a majority of Germans would argue for compulsory vaccination for certain diseases. For example, 61 percent of those surveyed stated that they were required to have vaccination, and 30 percent fundamentally rejected it. In East Germany, where, for example, paralysis was already mandatory for polio in East Germany, approval for general vaccination was significantly higher, although not necessarily in relation to flu. Despite the relatively high level of acceptance and the general level of vaccination fatigue, Ole Wichmann considers that a general obligation to vaccinate is not enforceable, since this would be "an encroachment on personal freedom that is hardly compatible with the constitution". The RKI vaccination expert emphasized that "more has to be done on education." (Fp)
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