Dutch ruling party: Kindergartens should be able to refuse unvaccinated children

Published 20 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff

The Dutch ruling party, VVD, has introduced a bill that would allow kindergartens to refuse places to unvaccinated children. The party cites increased cases of whooping cough and measles as reasons for the vaccination requirement.

The bill was proposed by the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Socialist Party (SP) in 2020, but was shelved after failing to gain enough support. Now the VVD, led by current Prime Minister Mark Rutte, wants to revive the proposal.

The reason for the reintroduction is said to be an outbreak of whooping cough in the country, reports NL Times. 1400 cases have been reported and four babies have died from the disease this year. Authorities are urging people with cold symptoms to avoid close contact with babies and pregnant women. There have also been several cases of measles this year.

– These are diseases that you no longer have to get sick from. Because you can get vaccinated against them, said VVD MP Sophie Hermans.

Reluctant support

Since the covid crisis, the number of vaccinations in the country has generally declined, with vaccination rates for measles, whooping cough, polio and rubella falling below 90% last year. In the case of whooping cough, it is estimated that 85% of infants were unprotected because the mother or child had not been vaccinated.

The bill would give nurseries the right to refuse unvaccinated children. But the majority of MPs do not support the bill, and even the SP, which originally co-sponsored it, is now unsure. Maarten van Ooijen, state secretary at the country’s Public Health Department, argues that vaccination targets should instead be achieved by doctors providing more information.

– People are not that impressed by calls from politicians or the government about vaccination. What is especially effective are expert people who assist parents. Such as doctors and youth nurses at the clinic during individual conversations. That takes time and a lot of energy, but we will continue to focus on this, he says.