The government offers various vaccinations and population screening programmes. This can prevent people from getting sick or make it possible for people to begin treatment at an early stage. All vaccinations and population screenings are free and voluntary.
Which vaccinations do children and youngsters in The Netherlands receive?
As part of the National Vaccination Programme, children aged 10 and under are vaccinated against several severely infectious diseases: Diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio (Tdap-IPV), measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), hepatitis B (HepB), meningococcal C (MenC) and pneumococcal infections (Pneumo). Since 2010, girls aged 12 and 13 have also been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer.
Why is vaccination important?
Before this vaccination programme was put in place, these diseases occurred more frequently, with the risk of severe health problems or even death. The more children are vaccinated against an infectious disease, the less common this disease will be. Children who have not been vaccinated are then at a lower risk of getting sick. When almost all children are vaccinated, it is possible for a disease to disappear completely.
Flu shots for people over 60 and people with certain diseases
Children and adults who are at extra risk of becoming severely ill due to the flu are invited to have a yearly flu shot. This applies to people with certain medical conditions and people over 60. The risk of flu is decreasing because of the flu shot. If someone gets the flu despite having had the flu shot, it will be less severe and the risk of additional severe health problems is reduced.
Population screening for adults
Adults receive regular invitations to be screened for various forms of cancer. This can prevent cancer or can allow the person to begin treatment in a timely manner. All women over 30 are encouraged to be screened for cervical cancer once every five years. From the age of 50, women are invited for a breast cancer screening once every two years. Both men and women over the age of 55 are invited for a bowel cancer screening.