The declining trend in the number of children receiving vaccinations from the National Immunisation Programme has come to an end. Preliminary figures for younger children even show a slight increase. This is stated in the report on vaccination coverage and annual report on the Dutch National Immunisation Programme in 2018.

National vaccination coverage

This year’s vaccination coverage has remained about the same as last year for most of the vaccinations in the National Immunisation Programme. 92.4% of children had their DPTP vaccinations at the age of two, while 92.9% had received their MMR vaccination. Of all children born in the Netherlands in 2016, 90.2% participated fully in the National Immunisation Programme. This means that they had all their shots according to the vaccination schedule before reaching two years old. A positive note is that the preliminary vaccination rate in younger birth cohorts for e.g. MMR and DPTP was slightly higher amongst infants in March 2019 than the preliminary vaccination rate around the same time last year.

HPV vaccination rate remains stable

The national vaccination rate for human papillomavirus (HPV, a virus associated with cervical cancer) was 45.5%, the same as last year. That figure is even higher (48.5%) if we include the vaccinations that were administered after the recipients’ 14th birthday. The preliminary vaccination rate for girls born in 2005 is currently over 3% higher than coverage around the same point last year for girls born in 2004.

High rate of vaccination against meningococcal disease 

In 2018, 103 people developed meningococcal serogroup W disease, compared to 80 cases in 2017. In view of this increase, the vaccination against meningococcal disease C for babies was expanded in 2018, adding multiple variants, including meningococcal disease W. Precautionary vaccination of young people was launched in 2018, with the first invitations for vaccination against meningococcal types ACWY being sent to some of the teenagers born in 2004. Preliminary national participation in this new meningococcal ACWY vaccination amongst young people is high (87%).

Reduced risk of outbreaks

Higher vaccination coverage reduces the risk of future outbreaks of diseases such as measles. For that reason, it is important to continue monitoring these trends closely. From an international perspective, vaccination coverage in the Netherlands is still high, with the exception of HPV. This also holds true for the Netherlands Caribbean.