Lowest vaccination rates in the 'Bible-Belt'
Vaccinations for mumps, measles and rubella (in Dutch called BMR vaccinations) are part of the Dutch National Vaccination Programme. In the Netherlands, unlike in many other counties, it is not compulsory to be vaccinated against any disease. This applies to both adults and children. However, almost all parents allow their children to be vaccinated. Vaccinations usually take place in the 'Child Health Care Centre' for babies and pre-schoolers.
This map shows that the percentage of vaccinated children in most municipalities is above 95%. Municipalities with a vaccination parcentage under 95 % can be found in the so-called 'bible-belt'. This region reaches from the islands of Zeeland (the south-west), via the countryside of Zuid-Holland and Utrecht up to the northern part of the Veluwe and the western part of Overijssel (directly east of the IJsselmeer) (, ).
An indication that this is a regional clustering of kindred spirits, is shown by the number of voters for small Calvinist parties like the Reformed Political Party (see map of SGP-voters). Among such voters there is a resistance against (some parts of) the vaccination programme. The people that refuse vaccinations are not only geographically clustered, but also socio-demographically. This means that they share important social institutions (church, school, job and leisure time) take place within the same group, with strong interrelations among each other.
As the concentration of non-vaccinated people is clustered in a regional and socio-demographic manner, the development of epidemics is facilitated. The outbreak of Mumps in 1999/2000 is a countrywide example of such an epidemic. Another example is rubella that reached epidemic status in 2004/2005. In 2005 96,27% of children that were born in 2002 were vaccinated against mumps, measles and rubella. After some years of decline this percentage has been rising since 2003. Below you can find the percentages for recent years.
Compare this map to:
National Vaccination Programme (Rijksvaccinatieprogramma, in dutch)