Measures to increase the number of vaccinated children

In the Netherlands the vaccination coverage is high, at an average of over 90%. But to eradicate infectious diseases altogether, even more people need to be vaccinated. The government is therefore taking measures to increase vaccination coverage. 

Lower risk of disease if more children are vaccinated

If a lot of people are vaccinated against an infectious disease such as measles, the disease will occur less often. This is due to group immunity. People with a health condition and people who have not been vaccinated then also have a lower risk of becoming ill. 

Why measures to increase vaccination coverage are needed

  • In order to eradicate infectious diseases, even more people need to be vaccinated. For example, in order to eradicate measles, vaccination coverage has to be at least 95% in all countries worldwide. 
  • In the Netherlands, vaccination coverage has fallen slightly over the last 10 to 15 years. In 2019, vaccination coverage went up slightly for the first time in 5 years. Despite this, there are still too many people who do not get vaccinated. 
  • There are big regional differences. In some regions, vaccination coverage is high. In other parts of the country, it is lower. In big cities for example, and in regions where many parents live who do not have their children vaccinated for religious reasons. 

Measures to get more children vaccinated

The government wants more children to be vaccinated. These measures can be found in the action plan Verder met vaccineren (in Dutch).

Catch up with HPV, BMR and Tdap-IPV vaccinations free of charge

Not all 16 and 17 year-olds have been vaccinated against HPV, BMR or Tdap-IPV. For this reason, in 2019 and 2020 people in this age group were sent an extra invitation to go and get the vaccinations free of charge. How this will be organised from 2021 onwards is still under discussion.  

Communication training for doctors and nurses

Parents with doubts about vaccination must be given clear information and answers to their questions. The government has made money available for communication training for doctors and nurses. 

Inquiry into whether childcare centres may refuse non-vaccinated children

The government has ordered an inquiry into whether childcare centres may refuse non-vaccinated children. This is a recommendation from the report Prikken voor elkaar from the committee on childcare and vaccination. 

Vaccination Alliance helps inform parents and professionals 

Parents should have access to science-based information about vaccinations. If they have questions or doubts, they should know where they can find clear information and answers to their questions – in person, at the baby and toddler clinic and on the internet. In order to spread this message, the government has set up the Vaccination Alliance. 

Doctors, nurses, scientists, communications experts and policymakers are all working together in the Vaccination Alliance. They are committed to raising awareness of the importance of vaccinations among a wide audience. Here are some results:

  • There are now vaccine alliances at local level.
  • Central government and senior citizens' association KBO-PCOB have joined forces to promote vaccinations for adults, especially the flu vaccination and the pneumococcal vaccination. 
  • Campaigns will be launched to explain why the HPV vaccine is so important in preventing cervical cancer. 

Combating disinformation about vaccination 

There is a lot of information on vaccinations, particularly on the internet. But this information is not always correct. The Vaccination Alliance has set up a think tank on disinformation, that wants to help parents find science-based information on the internet. The think tank also rebuts those who spread misleading information. A few results: 

  • Participants in the think tank answer online questions from worried parents. Where necessary, they actively disprove false information about vaccinations. 
  • The Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ) has fined the owners of 10 homeopathic websites for advertising a non-registered medicine, namely homeopathic vaccines. It has never been proved that these homeopathic vaccines work. 
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media channels are undertaking actions such as showing warnings to fight the spread of incorrect information about vaccinations.