The public health institute RIVM is spending €2m on a campaign to get more parents to have their children vaccinated, amid growing concern that vaccination rates are falling.
Parents are increasingly questioning the need for vaccinations as diseases disappear from the radar and wrong or outdated information circulates on the internet, spokesman Hans van Vliet told broadcaster NOS.
Over nine in 10 children take part in the state vaccination programme, which runs from the age of 0 to 19. However, the take-up rate among newborns has fallen 0.5% for the past two years and is declining in fundamentalist Protestant and Free School communities, the RIVM says.
‘People have become more vocal and are less likely to take the word of experts,’ Van Vliet said. ‘We have to do more to convince worried parents and answer their questions properly.’
The Boink foundation, which represents parents whose children use organised daycare, wants to know if it is legally possible for crèches to refuse to accept children who have not been vaccinated.
That discussion started two years ago after an eight-month old baby became seriously ill with measles. The baby reportedly contracted the disease from a child who had deliberately not been vaccinated.
The baby’s mother Nicole Gommers believes daycare facilities should be allowed to refuse children who have not been vaccinated. ‘You should not be taking risks with extremely young children,’ she told the broadcaster.
During the Bible belt measles epidemic in 2013-14, one child died and 182 were hospitalised.