The government’s health advisory council is recommending that all girls be vaccinated against cervical cancer in their first year of secondary education.
Including the cervical cancer vaccine in the national vaccination programme will save hundreds of lives a year, the council said.
In order to assess the effectivity of the vaccine, which has only recently come on the market, there should also be a long-term research project set up, the council recommended.
Health minister Ab Klink reportedly has doubts about the recommendation, pointing to the €30m annual cost.
According to ANP, Klink says the Netherlands already has one of the lowest cervical cancer death rates in Europe so a vaccination programme would not be as cost effective. This is partly due to the national screening system which means all women are tested every five years.
‘The children’s vaccination programme is currently based on childhood diseases,’ programme manager Marina Conyn-Van Spaendonck told ANP. ‘Now cancer and sexuality are being added to it.’ Cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus which is spread by sexual contact.
Some 250 women die in the Netherlands every year from cervical cancer, making it the second biggest cancer killer after breast cancer. Some 600 are diagnosed with the disease.
Labour (PvdA) MP Khadija Arib told news agency ANP she would press the minister on his earlier commitment to introducing the vaccination.
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