Not yet clear when Covid vaccination can start, health institute says
It is still too early to say with certainty when the Netherlands health authorities will start vaccinating the population against the coronavirus, according to Jaap van Delden, in charge of the coroanvirus vaccinations at public health institute RIVM. He can't say whether Health Minister Hugo de Jonge's start date of January 4 will be reached, ANP reports.
"It's ambitious, everything is aimed at starting then, but there is still so much uncertainty," he said on Thursday. "I cannot estimate whether it is feasible, but I also cannot estimate whether it is not feasible."
The European Medicines Agency started evaluating two coronavirus vaccines, one made by Moderna and one made by Pfizer, this week. It hopes to decide by the end of December whether the Pfizer vaccine is good to use. The Moderna evaluation results will follow in January.
On Tuesday, De Jonge said that if the EMA gives the go ahead on schedule, the aim is to vaccinate the first Dutch in the week of January 4.
The government's plan is to first vaccinate the elderly, medically vulnerable people, and healthcare workers in direct contact with Covid-19 patients.
According to epidemiologists, this strategy will decrease the coronavirus mortality and hospitalizations, but will not slow the spread of the virus much.