Vaccination in Holland

Vaccination in the Netherlands is 100% optional and while there is mild pressure to fully vaccinate, saying “No thank you” is very respected by medical people. I expected a fight with my daughter but had surprisingly few issues. They don’t vaccinate at birth at all and many of the American vaccines aren’t even given here so the load is less even if you agree to what is offered. We said from the get go we weren’t doing any before age 2 and while we were asked at every well child checkup if we were doing shots that day, saying no never really caused any issues. The pneumococcal vaccine was pushed on us and I felt pressured for that one but we decided that it wasn’t right for our child and declined. A few weeks later that vaccine was taken out of the schedule as 3 babies died from it in a week!!! They had it off the schedule for quite a while before replacing it with a different brand. Obviously I’m glad we said no.

There’s also never once been a request for vaccine records at the school. The preschool (more of a mother’s day out place) does ask but saying none is also not a problem. I believe day cares also ask and more and more it’s been in the media to try and refuse unvaccinated kids from daycares.. the law is on the side of freedom of choice though which is honestly one of the major reasons we live here (I’m an American, my husband is Dutch). If there’s some illness going around the school they put a note in the window to warn everyone. I’ve seen measles, mumps, pertussis, chicken pox mentioned. Chicken pox is still normal for all kids here, they only give adults a vaccine if they never had it as a child. Our son was vaccinated till age 3 yrs 9 mos and our daughter never. They are 11 and 6 now. Two years ago when pertussis was at the school it seemed 50% of the kids were absent that month. It was quite creepy, but my kids didn’t get it. I firmly believe that the timing of the 8-9 year olds getting booster shots was quite.. ironic. (shedding)

If you have more questions about living here, feel free to ask. They also don’t add fluoride to the water. You can get fluoride treatments for your kids at the dentist but we’ve declined with no issues. The 1st time the dentist asked if it was ok to ask us why we didn’t want it and I just said that we don’t believe it to be safe. She said that was fine and there was no judgment in her tone. The weirdest thing about living here with vaccines is that when you go to the drug store to get basic OTC medicines they ask if you have any questions and insist you read the insert for potential side-effects and that it’s very important… yet.. when you ask to the see the insert for a vaccine they often don’t even know what you’re talking about.

Laura K Ockelkorn on Facebook

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