Doctors baffled by delay in vaccinating babies against Rotavirus
Caretaker State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health announced that the decision on whether or not to add the Rotavirus vaccine to the national vaccination program for babies will be left up to the new yet-to-be-formed cabinet. Pediatricians are baffled by the delay, AD reports.
The Health Council already advised the cabinet to add the Rotavirus vaccine to the national vaccination program. And countries like Belgium, the United States, and Germany, where the vaccine is already given as standard, show that it can reduce the number of Rotavirus hospitalizations by 85 percent.
The Rotavirus is highly contagious, to such an extent that almost all children under the age of 5 will be infected with it. It causes diarrhea and vomiting, and in severe cases can lead to dehydration and organ failure. Most infections are mild, but still tens of thousands of parents take their child to the GP with the Rotavirus every year.
On average, about 3,600 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized with the Rotavirus per year. Five to seven children die from the virus per year.
According to Karoly Illy, chairman of the Dutch association of pediatrics NVK, it never even crossed pediatricians' minds that the Rotavirus vaccine wouldn't just be added to the national program.
"Worrying that this is needlessly delayed," Illy said to the newspaper. "Blokhuis' successor will first have to read up on it before such a decision is made, so that takes time. Only then can we start the preparations, which will take about a year. Worrying, that so many children will not be protected until later."