Strict Protestant parents secretly vaccinate children against measles

Health service workers have secretly given several children living in the Dutch Bible belt vaccinations against measles, the AD reports on Friday.

Some 230 cases of measles have been reported in the region, where the orthodox Protestant church opposes vaccinations. Strong pressure within the community also leads parents to shun vaccinations, the AD says.

Officials have now written to parents offering home visits and several dozen have taken advantage of the offer, doctor Frits Woonink told the paper. ‘Many have told us the fact we are prepared to come to them has helped them get over their shame,’ he said.

Seven people, including six children, have been hospitalised with measles since the beginning of the outbreak in May.

Nationwide, some 95% of Dutch children have been vaccinated against measles but in parts of the Bible belt the rate is as low as 80%.

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