The National Influenza Prevention Programme (NPG in Dutch) was originally funded from the AWBZ; since 2006 it has been funded from public health funding regulations (Subsidieregeling Publieke Gezondheid in Dutch), part of the national budget. From 2008, the NPG has cost about €49 million: €13 million for vaccines, €34 million for vaccination by GPs, and just under €2 million for public information materials, GP support, monitoring, and the organizational costs of the NVI, the SNPG and the RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment -CvB. The administration cost of vaccines to the medically indicated residents of nursing homes, homes and hospitals for the mentally disabled, and of other care organisations for people who have no GP of their own, is not covered by the NPG but by the AWBZ. The cost of the vaccines is borne by the NPG, however.

International context

The immunisation coverage of risk groups in the Netherlands is the highest in Europe and one of the highest in the world. In a survey carried out for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), immunisation coverage for the elderly in 18 European countries varied between 1% and 83% during the 2007/2008 influenza season.

In 2003 the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a resolution calling on member states to raise the immunisation coverage for risk groups (the elderly and those with medical grounds) and set a target of 75% immunisation coverage for the elderly by 2010, a target endorsed by the European parliament in 2005. The Netherlands is the only European country to have achieved this target: 76% of those aged 60 or more were vaccinated in 2009, and 81% of those aged 65 or more were vaccinated. The UK almost achieved this goal (73,5%).

In Europe, influenza vaccination is recommended for the elderly (either older than 60 or older than 65) and for people with medical grounds irrespective of age. In the United States, influenza vaccination is recommended for everybody over 6 months of age since 2010.