World Health Organization


Carine Chan

Cite as

Committee: World Health Organisation (WHO) Country: Kingdom of the Netherlands

Topic: The Universal Adoption of Immunisation

Immunisation has helped to prevent deadly infections such as diphtheria, polio and preventable types of meningitis around the world. 30 years ago, one in four children died before the age of five. Today, that number is one in 10. Almost 75% of the world’s children are now vaccinated against the six main killer diseases (measles, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, tuberculosis and tetanus) and the number of deaths from these diseases has more than halved since 1980. As can be seen, vaccines are very effective in protecting people against diseases. However, we must not forget that coverage of vaccines does not extend to all. In areas with low vaccination coverage, where people opt out of vaccination schemes or do not have access to vaccines, the number of killer disease cases is very high. For example, in 2013, over 2600 patients with measles were reported during an outbreak in municipalities with vaccine coverage of less than 90%. Therefore, the issue of accessibility and coverage of vaccines needs to be addressed.

In the Netherlands, various measures have been taken to control outbreaks of diseases. However, the Netherlands recognizes that not everyone is for the idea of having mandatory vaccination. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 15 of the Netherlands Constitution, no one shall be deprived of his liberty other than in cases laid down by or pursuant of the Act of Parliament. As such, there are no compulsory vaccinations, but parents receive reminders and are highly encouraged to vaccinate their children. In order to better promote immunisation, all vaccinations in the Netherlands are free of charge.

Although current law mandates that vaccinations are not compulsory, over 95% of parents in the Netherlands opt to vaccinate their children. Hence, the Netherlands believes that compulsory immunisation is not necessary as long as the country educates its citizens adequately, provides appropriate incentives and encourages them to vaccinate their children.

On the issue of immunisation, the Netherlands has implemented and supported various measures at the international, regional and national levels. In line with the motto of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), “...

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