In the first six months of 2019, the number of notified meningococcal serogroup W (MenW) disease cases decreased in almost all age groups, after a continuous increase since 2015. In 2018, there was also a low number of cases of other diseases under the National Immunisation Programme due to the high vaccination coverage in the past decennia. This was revealed by RIVM’s 2018 – 2019 annual report on surveillance and developments of the National Immunisation Programme in the Netherlands.

Few cases of diseases because of high vaccination coverage

In 2018, few reports were received from people who contracted a disease against which the National Immunisation Programme vaccinates. There were, for example, few reports of Haemophilus influenzae type b, Hib disease (43), meningococcal C (3), diphtheria (4), tetanus (1), rubella (0) and polio (0). In 2018, some 880,000 children aged 0 to 19 were vaccinated under the National Immunisation Programme, a total of 2,266,000 vaccinations. This put an end to the decline in participation in the National Immunisation Programme observed since 2014.   

Some other conclusions from the report 

  • More than half of the pregnant women (about 60%) had a positive attitude and intention towards maternal pertussis vaccination. The vaccination for pregnant women will start in December 2019. 
  • Pertussis continued to occur frequently in 2018 (4897). In 2018 one young baby died of whooping cough and in early 2019 (until 1 May) one young baby and one unvaccinated older patient died of whooping cough. 
  • The number of measles cases increased from 16 in 2017 to 24 reported cases in 2018 and 45 in the first six months of 2019. In June 2019, a local measles outbreak began in Urk, a municipality with low vaccination coverage. The outbreak is now over.
  • The number of people with a pneumococcal disease caused by a vaccine serotype remained very low (1 child under the age of five). However, the number of cases of pneumococcal disease caused by serotypes not included in the pneumococcal vaccine increased (70 children under the age of five in 2018/2019 compared to 46 in 2017/2018).
Picture of the infographic Report 2018 - 2019 National Immunisation Programme

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Scientific developments

The report presents an overview of surveillance data and scientific developments of the 12 infectious diseases against which the Dutch National Immunisation Programme vaccinates. It also contains information about infectious diseases that are not (yet) included in the National Immunisation Programme, but for which a vaccine is available, such as rotavirus, chickenpox and shingles. RIVM publishes this report every autumn.