After recent declines in vaccination levels nationwide, the trend seems to have reversed in this year’s RIVM numbers – except in Friesland.
Translation by Traci White
RIVM – the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment – annually evaluates the number of infants, toddlers and school-aged children who have been given the Dutch vaccination regimen. While the number of children being vaccinated is returning to desirable levels, numbers are still not where health authorities would like to see them, which means that herd immunity against illnesses like measles is not as robust as it should be.
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that the vaccination coverage level still went down in Friesland over the past year, but it remains above the national average – aside from the HPV vaccine, which prevents cervical cancer.
Last summer, it came out that the vaccination rate on the Frisian Wadden Islands was below the national average: across the country, the recommended coverage rate is 90 to 95 percent, and the current average is around 90, but on several of the islands, that level was closer to 80 percent. Other regions in the Netherlands which traditionally have lower inoculation levels are in the Dutch Bible Belt.
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How comprehensive is the Dutch vaccination programme, and how does it compare to similar public health initiatives around the world? Professor of Global Health Economics Maarten Postma recently spoke with Econ 005 about how the conversation and science around vaccines has changed in recent decades and the costs of medical action and inaction when it comes to inoculation.