The number of babies and children in the Netherlands being given the standard childhood vaccinations has fallen by 0.5% for the third year in a row, health minister Edith Schippers has told MPs.
Schippers said she has commissioned the public health institute RIVM to investigate the cause of the decline.
The drop in the vaccination rate means the risk of an outbreak of measles in the Netherlands has increased, the RIVM says. The World Health Organisation says a vaccination rate of 95% is needed to eradicate measles and the Netherlands dipped under that figure last year.
The number of 13-year-old girls being vaccinated against the HPV virus which can cause cervical cancer has also plummeted from 61% to 53%. The RIVM says this may be due to reports that some girls developed extreme fatigue after the injection. No link has so far been established, the RIVM says.
Schippers has also asked the RIVM to investigate the ‘best way to remove unfounded fears about vaccinations and their side effects’.
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