Today sees the launch of the ‘Do not miss out’ campaign, which calls on young people to get the first dose of the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) as soon as possible. This initiative of RIVM and the Municipal Public Health Services (GGD) is aimed at young people born between 1996 and 2003. Getting vaccinated is only free of charge for this group during the one-off catch-up campaign this year. Because there must be at least five months between the two necessary doses of the vaccine, the organisations mentioned above are organising this campaign to call on young people to take action swiftly. Throughout the country, existing and additional vaccination locations are being converted into HPV stops, where young people can get vaccinated without an appointment. The first ‘Do not miss out’ dose of the vaccine will be administered today at Utrecht Science Park – one of the HPV stops – in the presence of State Secretary Van Ooijen.
Meanwhile, the turnout percentage for the catch-up again is approaching 20%. Research has shown that many young people who have not been vaccinated yet intend to get the vaccine. When asked why they had not yet done so, they gave various reasons for not getting around to it. The new campaign aims to make young people aware that they need to go and get their first dose before the summer if they want to get fully vaccinated for free. Only a full course of two doses ensures long-term protection against HPV, and there must be enough time between both doses. In early 2023, more than 1.3 million 18–27-year-olds received an invitation: 900,000 men and 400,000 women. For young adult men, the option to get vaccinated against HPV is new. Most young adult women were vaccinated when they were children.
To give as many young people as possible the opportunity to get vaccinated against HPV, the GGD will be driving special vaccination buses around locations designated as HPV stops in the week starting 5 June. In addition, there will be pop-up vaccination stops in locations that many young people pass through, such as educational institutions and train stations. Naturally, existing vaccination locations will be open as well. They are being converted into HPV stops for the occasion. These efforts are part of the ‘Do not miss out’ campaign. Everyone who wants to get vaccinated against HPV will have the opportunity to do so quickly and easily this week.
About HPV and the vaccination
The HPV virus is highly contagious and is spread through intimate contact. In the Netherlands, an estimated 1,500 people a year develop cancer following an HPV infection. This group comprises around 1,100 women and around 400 men. Getting vaccinated against HPV drastically reduces the risk of becoming infected with the virus. The HPV vaccine protects against six kinds of cancer: in the mouth and throat, penis, anus, vagina, labia and cervix. The vaccine also protects young people who are already sexually active. In the Netherlands, the vaccine has been offered to girls since 2009. It was offered to boys for the first time in 2022. More than a million young people have already been vaccinated. The effectiveness of the HPV vaccine is subject to ongoing review. No permanent side effects have been found. Go to www.hpvkeuzehulp.nl for more information or help with making a decision.