SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of children being vaccinated in the Netherlands has improved marginally, but the overall rate is still below the target figure of 95%, according to new figures published by public health institute RIVM on Tuesday.
In total, 90.8% of two-year-olds were up to date with their immunisation programme in 2019, a rise of 0.6 percentage point on 2018. Nevertheless, 4.4% of two-year-olds have not had any childhood vaccinations – most of whom live in the Dutch Bible belt, where vaccinations are frowned on in some strict Protestant circles.
The triple MMR jab against measles, mumps and rubella, which was the focus of a long-running anti-vaccination campaign linking it to childhood autism, was given to 93.6% of children, up from 92.8% a year ago.
Take-up of the HPV vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer, rose from 45.5% to 53%. Boys are to be offered this vaccination from next year at the age of nine. Hans van Vliet of the public health institute RIVM told the AD he expects a further rise in vaccination rates in the coming period.
The coronavirus crisis, he said, has really brought home the importance of vaccinations against disease. The Netherlands is a signatory to the World Health Organisation’s strategy to eradicate measles, which includes raising the take-up level to 95%, which is required for herd immunity.