The percentage of children receiving vaccinations from the National Immunisation Programme rose again last year. Another striking note is the 10% increase in HPV vaccination, rising to 63%. This represents a record high in HPV vaccination coverage. In addition, an estimated 70% of pregnant women got the 22-week vaccination to protect their baby from whooping cough. This is stated in the report on vaccination coverage and in the 2020 Annual Report on the National Immunisation Programme in the Netherlands.
National vaccination coverage
This year’s vaccination coverage rose slightly for most of the vaccinations in the National Immunisation Programme (NIP), compared to last year. 91.3% of children born in 2018 received all NIP vaccinations before the age of 2. This is 0.5% more than last year.
HPV vaccination coverage increased by 10%
National vaccination coverage for the HPV vaccination for girls born in 2006 increased significantly (+10%), rising to 63%. That figure is even higher (68%) if we include the vaccinations that were administered after the recipients’ 14th birthday. This vaccination protects against several HPV-related cancers, including cervical cancer.
22-week vaccination for pregnant women
About 70% of all pregnant women who gave birth in April–December 2020 got the 22-week vaccination. Added to the National Immunisation Programme at the end of 2019, this vaccination protects newborn babies against whooping cough.
Analysis of four major cities
There are differences in participation in the National Immunisation Programme among children with and without a migrant background. This was already apparent from an analysis of the four major cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. The most significant differences were seen in the HPV vaccination and the MenACWY vaccination for teenagers. Vaccination coverage is lowest among young people from Turkish and Moroccan backgrounds. The four major cities will be partnering with RIVM, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and representatives from various population groups for further assessment of why this is the case. It is important to monitor these developments closely and to achieve higher vaccination coverage among these groups. Higher vaccination coverage reduces the risk of outbreaks of diseases such as measles.
Outbreak of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
Youth healthcare services in the Netherlands made every effort last year to ensure that the National Immunisation Programme could proceed as planned wherever possible, despite all the restrictions resulting from the coronavirus measures. As a result, the measures seem to have had a minimal impact on the number of children vaccinated. This is evident from the provisional vaccination figures from the National Immunisation Programme on children who were invited for vaccination during the coronavirus outbreak. This can be attributed to the incredible efforts of all employees working in youth healthcare services. Vaccination coverage for these children cannot be calculated precisely until next year, when the final figures are known.