Vaccination of children

The National Immunisation Programme offers vaccination against a number of diseases to all children living in the Netherlands. Vaccination is not compulsory.

Most parents in the Netherlands (over 95%) have their children vaccinated. The first round is performed between the ages of 0 and 4. When they reach the age of 9, two vaccinations are repeated: DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and polio) and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella; in Dutch BMR). Girls are also offered vaccination to protect them against cervical cancer in the year they turn 13. These vaccinations are free of charge.

National Immunisation programme (RVP)

The RVP offers vaccination against the following 12 diseases:

  • cervical cancer (targeting the human papillomavirus (HPV) – only for girls aged 12/13)
  • mumps
  • diphtheria
  • hepatitis B
  • Hib diseases (caused by Hib bacteria; these include infections of the upper respiratory system and meningitis)
  • whooping cough
  • measles
  • meningitis C
  • pneumococcal infection
  • polio
  • rubella
  • tetanus.

Why should children be immunised?

Some childhood diseases seem relatively harmless. But they can have serious consequences, like paralysis. Some are mainly a danger to adults who have not had the disease as a child. They can become seriously ill if infected by a sick child.

All the vaccinations that are part of the National Immunisation Programme reduce the risk of infection with the specific disease or diseases they target. Or they reduce the severity of the disease. Vaccination is not without risk. But a child who is not vaccinated and then becomes ill is at greater risk. In other words, a vaccinated person runs fewer risks than an unvaccinated person.

Immunisation schedule

Your child will be offered vaccination under the RVP according to an immunisation schedule. The schedule shows the ages at which your child will be vaccinated and with what vaccine. It is important to complete the vaccination programme: only then will your child have full protection.

Children between the ages of 0 and 4 are vaccinated at a baby and toddler clinic. Vaccinations for schoolchildren are provided either by the municipal health services or a Youth and Family Centre (CJG).

Call-up for vaccination

Up to four to six weeks before your due date you will receive a call-up for your child to participate in the National Immunisation Programme. This involves ten rounds of vaccinations in the first stage of the programme (from birth to 14 months), for which you will receive separate call-ups. You will also receive a vaccination certificate. Later on, you will be sent a call-up for the following three rounds, at age 4, age 9 and girls in the year they turn 13.

Take the call-up card with you when you attend the baby and toddler clinic, municipal health services or Youth and Family Centre.

If you have stated that you do not want your child to be vaccinated, you will still receive a call-up for the following rounds. This is done in case you have changed your mind or the medical grounds which originally precluded vaccination no longer apply.

Loss of vaccination certificate

If you have lost your vaccination certificate or that of your child you can apply to one of the regional offices of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) for a duplicate:

  • RIVM-DVP Noord (Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe)
    050-3686350 or dvpnoord@rivm.nl
  • RIVM-DVP Oost (Overijssel, Flevoland, Gelderland)
    0570-661520 or dvpoost@rivm.nl
  • RIVM-DVP West (Utrecht, Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland)
  • 079-3418238 or dvpwest@rivm.nl 
  • RIVM-DVP Zuid (Noord-Brabant, Limburg, Zeeland)
    040-2329111 or dvpzuid@rivm.nl

Vaccination is free of charge

Participation in the National Immunisation Programme is free. The State pays all costs. The vaccinations must however be administered at a baby and toddler clinic, municipal health service or Youth and Family Centre, using vaccines supplied by the State.