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Dutch cervical cancer vaccination program a failure

Internet source of opposition

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - The National Institute of Public Health (RIVM) has admitted mistakes were made in its vaccination campaign against cervical cancer launched in early March. Girls between the ages of 13 and 16 were encouraged to take part in a large-scale inoculation program, but the participation rate has been extremely low.

The vaccination program received negative publicity, with some scientists expressing concern on long-term safety issues. According to the RIVM, ‘wild rumours’ circulated on the Internet about the negative effects of being vaccinated, leading many parents to decide against the inoculation of their daughters.

The RIVM's Centre for Infectious Disease Control admits it was a mistake that the information about the campaign focused on scientific facts. It concludes that it underestimated the emotional aspect of vaccination and that it had not responded fast enough to questions that were being raised.

The RIVM insists that research shows the vaccine to be safe in guarding against the two viruses, which are deemed responsible for 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases in the Netherlands. A new vaccination program for 12-year-old girls will be launched in September.