Childcare sector upset they can’t mandate vaccine use after Senate vote
The Association of Social Childcare (BMK) and parents are concerned by the Senate's rejection of a D66 proposal to give childcare centers the right to refuse children who have not been vaccinated. The proposal aimed to make childcare centers safer for children's health. Only the D66 voted for the proposal, which parliament adopted with a broad majority just before the coronavirus pandemic broke out in 2020.
The BMK agreed with the bill's intention. According to the association, the vaccination issue affects society as a whole. "Children play and move everywhere: at swimming lessons, in the sandbox, and not just in childcare. And pedagogical professionals also move in an environment with other people."
BMK will continue to draw attention to the report Get vaccinated for each other. It advised making vaccination a condition for access to childcare in the "red scenario" if the vaccination coverage for measles, in particular, falls too far. That is not the case at the moment.
Gjalt Jellesma, chairman of the Interest Association of Parents in Childcare (BOinK), is against compulsory vaccination but believes that parents have the right to know whether children in the daycare their kids attend have been vaccinated. If privacy legislation prevents providing clarity, then parliament should look into it.
Fortunately, the vaccination rate has increased, said Jellesma. That saved the lives of thousands of children - more than other measures to protect children, for example, in traffic, he said. Jellesma added that in practice, it does happen that childcare centers refuse unvaccinated children.
Sector organization Brancheorganisatie Kinderopvang, not the same as BMK, is satisfied with the Senate's decision to shoot down the proposal. "Public health is primarily a government task, and it must remain there. The D66 proposal unintentionally gives childcare facilities a responsibility for this aspect of the health of our children, with all the associated consequences."
"Whether or not it is 'allowed' to refuse unvaccinated children to a daycare center creates a false sense of security and is only a partial solution for the much larger underlying problem, the low vaccination coverage in several regions." The association also fears that the bill would inadvertently force childcare employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Covid-19 jab was one of the reasons the Senate shot down the bill. It could lead to a distinction between children who have or have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, many parties said. The HPV vaccination - which protects against cervical cancer, among other things - also unintentionally ended up in the proposal, which refers to the National Vaccination Program. These two vaccinations have been added to the national program.
Reporting by ANP