Pediatric Association: 'Standardizing rotavirus vaccine would prevent several thousand hospitalizations each year'
Young children should be vaccinated against the rotavirus as soon as possible. This way, several thousand hospital admissions can be prevented each year, says the Dutch Pediatric Association. This would take some pressure off the already overloaded healthcare sector.
Almost all children under the age of five get the rotavirus. It is a contagious disease in which inflammation of the stomach and intestines occurs. This also leads to vomiting and diarrhea. In most children, the symptoms are mild, yet tens of thousands of parents visit the doctor with their child every year. That is, between 2,500 and 4,700 children end up in the hospital with dehydration symptoms due to the rotavirus every year. Five to seven children a year die from the effects of the virus.
“Any measure we can take to relieve healthcare is welcome,” says Károly Illy, chairman of the Dutch Pediatric Association. “Our pediatric wards in hospitals have hardly any corona patients, but the nurses from those wards are deployed in Covid wards.”
Vaccinating everyone would reduce the number of hospital admissions by 85 percent, stated a recommendation by the Health Council to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport back in 2017. Because of the daunting price tag attached to it, it was decided then not to introduce the vaccine “universally.”
As of last summer, therefore, only vulnerable children – for example, prematurely born babies – would be vaccinated. This was canceled at the last minute because the Covid-19 outbreak prevented the consultation offices from introducing it on time.
In the coming year, the Health Council will once again consider the question of whether all young children should be vaccinated against rota, but the Dutch Pediatric Association would like to speed this process up. A rota vaccine is already standardized from infants in Belgium, Germany, and Great Britain.