From the RIVM report 'Vaccination level of the National Immunisation Programme of the Netherlands' (report year 2014) the strong commitment of Community Health Services (GGD’s) and child welfare centres once again becomes clear. Hence the average participation per vaccination for children lies between 92 and 99%. Ninety-five percent (95%) of infants born on or after 1 August, 2011, have been vaccinated against hepatitis B.
In the Caribbean Netherlands the vaccination level for DPT-IPV, MMR, and pneumococcal disease among infants is high (90-100%) too. The proportion of infants who receive the first DPT-IPV vaccination on time has further increased from 85% to 88%.
It is important that the efforts of the Youth Health Care should be continued vigorously. Firstly, for good protection at an individual level, but also because herd immunity is important to protect children who are still too young to be vaccinated.
Measles epidemic despite high level of vaccination
The recent outbreak of measles shows the vulnerability of the Netherlands to diseases such as measles and polio. To create herd immunity against measles, a vaccination level of at least 95% is needed for both MMR vaccinations. This is not yet achieved with the second MMR vaccination for 9 year olds (92%). Incidentally, the measles epidemic was not caused by a too low vaccination level in the population as a whole; it was caused by a too low vaccination level among communities who refuse vaccination because of conscientious objection.
Participation in HPV vaccination against cervical cancer continues to be on the low side at 59%. This can be improved. Also, participation in the National Immunisaton Programme decreases as children get older: among infants participation is 95 96%, among toddlers it is 94-95% and among schoolchildren it is 92-93%.
RIVM is taking every effort to properly inform executing authorities and parents about the National Immunisation Programme. Moreover, the safety and effectiveness of the programme and the vaccination schedule are continuously evaluated. Thus the schedule was recently adjusted for vaccination against pneumococcal infections (from three plus one to two plus one) and for HPV (from three to two vaccination sessions).