SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – While 70% of the Dutch think childhood vaccinations should be made compulsory, 36% of young parents say they don’t trust information about them provided by the public health institute RIVM, according to a new survey of 32,000 people.
The survey, undertaken by television current affairs show EenVandaag and women’s magazine Linda, found that 82% of the population in general think daycare centres should be able to ban children who are not vaccinated and 55% would support cutting the child benefits of anti-vaxxers.
At the same time, 12% of young parents said they ‘did not really’ trust RIVM information and 24% said they did not trust it at all. ‘They don’t mention the disadvantages of vaccinations and people who claim they do cause damage are dismissed as nut jobs,’ one respondent said.
Almost a quarter said they agreed with the statement ‘I think that vaccines included in the state vaccination programme cause autism’. And 34% of young parents agreed with the statement: ‘A childhood disease like measles is something natural, and you should not vaccinate against them.’
The head of the national vaccination programme told the AD that a bit of mistrust is ‘no bad thing’. ‘We recommend people discuss the issue with their doctor or a paediatrician,’ Hans van Vliet said.
Some seven in 10 people now support a compulsory vaccination programme, up from 57% last year when EenVandaag previously researched the issue. But young parents are less keen – just 49% support compulsory vaccinations for all children.
At the moment 90% of Dutch children are vaccinated against potentially serious illnesses such as measles, polio and whooping cough. This is below the level of 95% the World Health Organisation considers safe.