Enough vaccine doses ordered to inoculate 69% of Dutch public by July 1
If all the Covid-19 vaccines the Netherlands ordered are approved and delivered according to schedule, the country will have enough vaccines to inoculate 12 million Dutch by July 1, Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health, Welfare and Sports said in a letter to parliament on Thursday, NOS reports.
As of December 10, the Netherlands counted nearly 17.5 million residents, according to Statistics Netherlands. About 15.6 million are above the age of 15, and about 14 million are adults. If 12 million Dutch are vaccinated against Covid-19 by July 1, 69 percent of the population will have a resistance to the coronavirus. For herd immunity against this virus, 60 to 70 percent of the population needs to be resistant, Jaap van Dissel of the RIVM previously told parliament.
The government, through the European Union, ordered six different vaccines. Whether all these will also become available depends on whether the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approves and licenses them. So far Pfizer/Biotech and Moderna applied for a license. AstraZeneca is expected to do so before Christmas. When the other three will, is not yet clear.
Much will depend on the approval of the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines, as they pledged to supply vaccines for 8 million Dutch in the first half of the year.
In the best case scenario, 500 thousand Dutch can be vaccinated in January. The Covid-19 vaccination program will only really gain steam from February at the earliest, especially if AstraZeneca gets a license from the EMA.
25 million needles and syringes have also been ordered. The first deliveries of these materials are already happening, De Jonge said.
The first vaccines will be given to healthcare workers. The cabinet thinks that about 75 percent of them will want to get vaccinated. Public health institute RIVM thinks that about 10 to 20 percent of the ordered vaccines will eventually go to waste - the vaccines can only be stored for four to five days, and it is not certain whether people invited to be vaccinated will actually show up.
Later this month the government will start a campaign to dispel any potential doubts about vaccination against the coronavirus.