The Dutch Health Council (Gezondheidsraad) is letting babies and their parents down in the fight against rotavirus, medical experts say. While all surrounding countries have adopted a vaccination policy against the diarrhoeal disease, that annually kills up to half a million young children around the world, the Netherlands are yet to develop an immunisation programme.
In 2010, the Health Council, which advises the government on medical matters, actually held a majority vote in favour of adopting the rota vaccine, but it wasn’t carried out. The minority, who held that the consequences weren’t severe enough and the project too expensive, had their way. Emeritus professor in child medicine Ronald de Groot adds that ‘there are fears of rising opposition to vaccination in society. But you simply need to inform people well. (…) [Since 2010] we’ve added to the record dozens of dead children and thousands of hospitalisations that could have been prevented.’