The current generation of (prospective) parents often knows the diseases against which they are vaccinated only by name. They often do not know how serious these diseases can be, because these diseases, due to the National Immunization Program (RVP), hardly ever occur. This means that the fear of these diseases has diminished and the fear of possible side effects of vaccinations can get the upper hand.
Serious syndromes to which 900 children died annually in the Netherlands
At the moment 12 different pathogens are included in the RVP. The current vaccination schedule leads to long-term immunity (at least 15 years, with the exception of pertussis) in almost all vaccinees (> 90%, except whooping cough and mumps).
Before the introduction of the RVP, 900 children died each year from the effects of illnesses included in the NIP: 300 as a result of asphyxiation in diphtheria, 200 as a result of suffocation in whooping cough, 200 due to cerebral inflammation in measles, 200 due to meningitis caused by the pneumococ, Hib or meningococ, and 10 due to respiratory problems with tetanus or polio. In addition, a larger number of children suffered brain damage due to brain (fleece) inflammation in measles, pneumococ, Hib or meningococ or due to lack of oxygen in diphtheria and whooping cough. Furthermore, any outbreak of polio to persistent paralysis symptoms in a number of children and each outbreak of red dog could lead to abnormalities in or death of the unborn child.
Naturally, due to better (supportive) treatment, fewer children will die from these infectious diseases at the moment than before the introduction of the RVP. But in the best case, without the RVP, around 250 children would still die each year from these serious infectious diseases and a much larger number of children would have handicaps. In addition, these diseases would lead to several thousand hospitalizations per year.
National vaccination program very effective: virtually no more death
Introducing the RVP has resulted in hardly any occurrence of these serious infectious diseases, except whooping cough (10,000 / year instead of 150,000 / year for vaccination). As a result, almost no more children die from these diseases each year in the Netherlands; it then almost always concerns children whose vaccination did not lead to sufficient immunity or unvaccinated children.
In areas where vaccination coverage is low (the so-called 'bible belt'), outbreaks of these infectious diseases occur occasionally. For example, from 1999 to 2003 there were a few outbreaks of measles, in which 5 children died. And in 2005, a red dog outbreak led to severe birth defects in at least one newborn.
National vaccination program has side effects
Every (medical) intervention has side effects. This is also the RVP. Fortunately, these side effects are generally mild and transient. It concerns pain and redness at the puncture site and mild 'flu-like' symptoms with fever, crying, more sleep and restlessness. More serious side effects occur more rarely. Every year, 1000-1500 side effects are reported at the RIVM, with three-quarters (very) likely being the result of the vaccination. This involves more severe 'flu symptoms', very prolonged crying, skin symptoms and discolored legs and about 200 children to attack, usually 'just' fainting, but with a small number of fits through the fever. Seriously alleged side effects such as epilepsy, allergic shock, brain (fleece) inflammation or death are (almost) never reported and, if reported, usually have a different cause.
In 1998, measles vaccination was associated with autism. The vaccination rate dropped to 60%, especially in England, with the deaths of measles as a result. Later, the research was not performed properly and had to be withdrawn, including the conclusion that the measles vaccine could lead to autism. The researcher also turned out to have financial interests in the outcome of his research.
Side effects are not proportional to the severity of the diseases
Every side effect, serious but also less serious, is extremely annoying for the individual child and his parents. This does not alter the fact that the above facts make it clear that the side effects of the vaccinations in the RVP, by the vaccine itself, or the additions, are disproportionate to the severity of the diseases that prevent these vaccinations.
Penn and Teller illustrate this beautifully in the video at the bottom of this article.
Vaccination; a responsibility to your child and to society!
Vaccination rates are high in the Netherlands, around 95%. Only in areas in the aforementioned 'bible belt', the vaccination rate is lower than the 85% required for group immunity (for most diseases). Here, outbreaks also occur occasionally.
In addition to objections to vaccination on religious grounds, there are objections from the anthroposophic and homeopathic angle. The Dutch Association for Critical Pricking focuses mainly on the harmful consequences of vaccination and makes selective choices in referenced experts and studies. Because children who are not vaccinated for non-religious reasons live spread over our country, they benefit from a high vaccination coverage among the other children and do not become ill due to group immunity.
In the Netherlands, vaccination is (fortunately) not compulsory. Every parent can and must therefore, deliberately and on the basis of correct and honest information, make a choice to have his or her vaccinated. Because the side effects of the NIP are disproportionate to the seriousness of the diseases (which unfortunately are often underestimated), my personal opinion is that all children (some children with special diseases excepted) should be vaccinated. Especially because if not vaccinated, it is not a choice of the child, but of the parent for him or her, to be exposed to a greater risk of a serious infectious disease. In addition, we (self-parent of two vaccinated children) have a social responsibility to keep the vaccination limit high, above the 85% required for group immunity. This is also the case for children who, despite vaccination, have no or insufficient immunity, and children whose parents deliberately do not switch to vaccination are (partially) protected. We must absolutely prevent these infectious diseases from ever leading to the death of, and handicaps in, larger numbers of children.