Massive increase in HPV vaccinations; slight increase in others

The vaccination rate of girls against HPV - the virus that can cause cervical cancer - increased spectacularly last year. The vaccination of newborns against mumps, measles and rubella increased slightly for the first time in seven years, and after years of decline, the rate for the other vaccinations remained stable for the second year in a row, according to ongoing research into the National Vaccination Program by public health institute RIVM. 

Girls are vaccinated against HPV when they turn 13 years old. In 2017, 50 percent of girls born in 2004 were vaccinated against HPV. In 2018 that increased to 59 percent of girls born in 2005. And last year it increased to 72 percent of girls born in 2006.

State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health, Welfare and Sports is delighted. "We continue to work hard to do even better, but I regard these as important signals that we are moving in the right direction," he said in letter to parliament. "I find the significant increase in HPV vaccinations extra encouraging, especially when you think of all the different types of cancer that an HPV infection can cause."

The RIVM will release the final figures for 2019 vaccinations later this year, but found the big increase in HPV vaccinations and the first increase in newborn vaccinations in seven years worth reporting now.

"The protection of our children against dangerous infectious diseases is improving," Blokhuis said. "These figures are a result of the joint efforts of all health professionals who give so much time and attention to help children and parents in the best possible way. Their commitment makes the difference every day. Really something to be very proud of."