Ministers in the orthodox Dutch Protestant churches are angry about what they see as interference from politicians who say children should be vaccinated against measles and other diseases.
Hundreds of children in the Dutch Bible belt have contracted measles over the past few weeks. Many people in the Netherlands’ staunchly religious communities do not vaccinate their children on religious grounds.
Former health minister Els Borst went public saying all children should be vaccinated. And prime minister Mark Rutte is quoted as saying that: ‘God never meant these children should suffer because God has also ensured there are vaccines.’
At the weekend, senator Heleen Dupuis said children who are not vaccinated should be protected from their parents.
But ministers say in Monday’s Nederlands Dagblad that politicians cannot impose their views on others.
‘They cannot choose what is the will of God,’ minister Wouter Pieters told the ND. ‘They can think what they like but they can never impose an interpretation of the Bible on another.’
Health officials have offered a new vaccination programme in the worst affected areas and will also vaccinate children at home if parents are worried about pressure from other church members.
Some 300 children have been diagnosed with measles but the total is expected to be higher because many cases go unreported. A number of cases of German measles (Rubella) have also been reported in the area.
German measles hit Dutch Bible belt school
Strict Protestant parents vaccinate children secretly
One in five pupils at orthodox Protestant school has measles
Measles epidemic hits Dutch Bible belt
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