Covid-19 vaccination will likely only start next year: Public Health institute
It is unlikely that the first Netherlands residents will be vaccinated against the coronavirus before the end of this year. But once vaccination can start, it is possible that the largest part of the population can be vaccinated in less than a year, Jaap van Delden and Hans van Vliet of public health institute RIVM said on Wednesday, NOS and NU.nl report.
"As it looks now", starting vaccination before the end of the year is "not likely, but also not impossible," Van Delden said. "We are doing everything we can, but we do not have enough information to say whether it will be successful this year. We cannot manage all the steps ourselves."
The RIVM now believes it may be able to vaccinate the majority of the Dutch population against Covid-19 in less than a year - somewhat shorter than the whole year the institute expected two weeks ago. According to Van Vliet, the nuance that things can be better than expected or disappointing was lost in the statement two weeks ago. "So the order of magnitude is correct, but we are now on the track that things are going to be better than expected."
"If we look at the schedule, some of the vaccines will be delivered in the third quarter [of next year]," Van Vliet said. If that turns out to be the case, it is possible that the majority of those who are eligible for a coronavirus vaccine will have had their turn in the fourth quarter of 2021.
All adult residents will be eligible for vaccination, though there will be an order of priority. The elderly and people with poor health will be first in line. "The most important risk factor for the virus is age. This is followed by heart complaints, lung diseases and diabetes," Van Vliet said.
After the elderly and vulnerable, healthcare workers will have their turn. "They do not run a very high risk thanks to good protective measures, but they can pose a risk to others if they have the virus. People from the risk groups are first to visit doctors and care providers. Moreover, it is important to keep healthcare afloat." Vaccination of children is not yet on the cards, Van Vliet said.