The number of infections with Meningococcus type W bacteria in the Netherlands is declining slightly, according to new figures from public health institute RIVM. The decrease can only partly be attributed by the new vaccination program for this bacteria among teenagers, Hans van Vliet, head of the RIVM's National Vaccination Program, said to NOS.
Of the nearly 132 thousand Dutch 13- and 14-year-olds who were invited to get a free vaccination against the meningococcus bacteria in the autumn of 2018, around 18 thousand ignored the call. The national turnout percentage is 86.5 percent. The lowest turnout was in Zeeland and Amsterdam, only 72 to 77 percent of teens went to get vaccinated, AD reports based on figures from public health institute RIVM.
The Netherlands' national vaccination program works - some 450 children's lives are saved through it every year - but it is too limited. The Dutch government must include more infectious diseases in the national vaccination program, multiple vaccination experts said in advise to the Tweede Kamer, AD reports.
Starting this coming weekend, all Dutch teenagers will receive an invitation to get a vaccination against Meningococcus in the year that they turn 14 years old. The reason for this is an increase in type W of the bacteria, which can also be dangerous to teenagers and young people, unlike the other types which are mainly dangerous to young children, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Netherlands is heading for a record number of infections with the meningococcal bacterium type W, also known as meningitis. So far this year 57 people ended up in intensive care and 11 people died because of this bacterium, according to figures AD received from the national institute for public health RIVM.