Van Ooijen announced last week that the vaccine against rotavirus is not included in the standard vaccinations having babies. He went against an advice from the Health Council to include the vaccine in the vaccination program. He himself would have preferred it otherwise, but there was no money to comply with all the council’s advice. After the expansion of the HPV vaccination and the flu shot, there is not enough money left to do rotavirus as well.
Children’s wards in charge
In de Volkskrant, pediatricians express their dissatisfaction with the decision of the State Secretary. “The rotavirus puts a huge burden on the pediatric wards in Dutch hospitals,” says Károly Illy, president of the Dutch Association for Pediatrics. “And we already have such a capacity problem in healthcare. If we can prevent so many withdrawals, that is incredibly important.”
Negotiate with pharmaceutical
Patricia Bruijning, pediatrician-epidemiologist at UMC Utrecht, is not satisfied with the explanation that the price of vaccination is too high. “That is a big misconception. If you are going to negotiate with the pharmaceutical company, a discount of up to 70 percent on the free market price is realistic. At that price, vaccination is probably cost effective.”
The ministry would not say how much money it needed for this vaccination campaign so as not to disrupt any later negotiations with pharmaceutical companies. It is not about huge amounts: a vaccine costs several tens of euros per child and between 170 and 180 thousand children are born in the Netherlands each year, de Volkskrant calculates.
Parents can purchase the vaccine themselves, which costs 138 euros. According to AJN, the scientific association of pediatricians, this increases the inequality of opportunity in society. “We will do everything we can to reverse this decision,” the association said in a statement Volkskrant know.