Soon after the major polio epidemic in 1957, the Dutch government started vaccinating children against this disease. This was the go-ahead for the National Immunisation Programme, which was offered to everyone free of charge and to which other vaccinations were subsequently added.
Today, the programme protects children against a number of dangerous diseases and prevents epidemics. RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment
directs the National Immunisation Programme and coordinates its implementation by the Municipal Public Health Services, Well Baby Clinics and the Centres for Children and Families.
The number of vaccines in the National Immunisation Programme has increased, vaccines are continually being improved, and the target group has extended from children to include 18-year old boys and girls. Based on ongoing innovation and improvement, the effectiveness and safety of the immunisation programme and vaccines are continuously monitored. Currently, immunisation is offered against 12 diseases.