The first influenza vaccines date from 1953, and the Netherlands has a long history of providing influenza vaccine to those running an increased risk of complications from influenza. Until 1993 the Health Council provided annual advisory reports on which risk groups were eligible for influenza vaccination; the Health Care Inspectorate (Inspectie voor de Gezondheidszorg, IGZ) notified the professional groups involved annually.
From 1993 onwards this vaccination began to take on the character of a national programme. Funded by the Ministry of Health, The Dutch Influenza Foundation (Nederlandse Influenza Stichting, NIS) actively provided public information material through Postbus 51 television advertisements. In 1993 the NHG published the first influenza 'professional standard' promulgating an active invitation policy. At the same time, risk patients were being systematically identified. In 1996, based also on the advice of the Health Council, the influenza vaccination programme was widened to include all those aged 65 or over.
From 1997 this policy took the form of the NPG programme; from then on, influenza vaccination for risk groups was no longer funded out of routine health care payed for by insurance companies but via subsidized health care. In 1997 the SNPG was set up; it became the subsidy recipient, and entered agreements with GPs on implementation and with the NVI (then the Stichting tot bevordering van de Volksgezondheid en Milieuhygiëne, SVM) on the purchase and distribution of vaccines. On 1 January 2006, the management of the NPG was transferred from the Health Care Insurance Board (College voor Zorgverzekeringen, CVZ) to the RIVM/CvB. In 2008 the Ministry of Health, following the Health Council's advice, widened the NPG target group to include healthy people from 60-64 years. As of 2008, patients with recurrent folliculitis are no longer considered a risk group.
In 2009 the SNPG website was completely redesigned and rebuilt to reflect its function as a digital NPG portal, with links to all the information needed by everyone involved in the programme.
As of 2010 influenza vaccines are ordered through a specially-designed web application. GPs can use the same application to declare their vaccination expenses. Also from 2010, care organizations such as mental health institutes and rehabilitation centres housing medically indicated persons who have no GP of their own can order free influenza vaccines for these people through the NPG. This policy is aimed at raising the security of vaccine supply for these risk groups. The administration of these vaccines is not reimbursed through the NPG but through the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten, AWBZ).