Monday 22 July 2019

Health council recommends adding more vaccinations to national list

The Dutch health council said on Wednesday that it backs vaccinating all 14 month old babies and all 14-year-olds against meningococcal types C and W and has urged the government to add the injections to the national vaccination programme.

Babies of 14 months are already given the vaccination as standard but teenagers are being offered a one off injection in 2018 and 2019. The health council now says that should happen every year.

However, it does not recommend vaccinations against meningococcal type B because of the side effects which can include high temperatures, and a lack of clarity about its effectiveness.

Meningococcal W claimed 18 lives in the Netherlands the first eight months of 2018, three times as many as the equivalent period last year.

The infection most commonly occurs in the 15 to 19 age group and is spread by coughing and sneezing. The virus can live in the nasal passages without causing infection, but if it enters the bloodstream or nervous system it can trigger symptoms similar to gastric flu such as high temperatures, vomiting and diarrhoea.

On Tuesday, the health council said babies need only be vaccinated twice against whooping cough, if their mothers were vaccinated against the disease during their pregnancy.

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