Family physicians want to be among the first to get Covid vaccinations
Family doctors in the Netherlands cautioned that the Ministry of Health should not forget about them when determining who gets priority access to the first coronavirus vaccines. On Saturday it emerged that acute care providers, emergency room staff, those working in hospital wards set up for coronavirus patients and ambulance crews would get first access to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
After the decision was announced on Saturday, the association for general practitioners, LHV, made an urgent appeal to the ministry. “In the first reports about this, the GPs - who also play an important role in emergency care - were not mentioned,” the LHV said in a statement issued on Saturday.
“This has led to intensive consultation today about when GPs will be vaccinated. These consultations have not yet been fully concluded, so we cannot yet report with certainty about the results.” The LHV said it hoped to reach a deal with the ministry on Sunday.
The new vaccination plan by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge followed several weeks of intense criticism for his decision to first vaccinate people working with the elderly and those in vulnerable health. He was also reprimanded for the slow start of the vaccination process in the country.
The Netherlands is the only nation in the European Union that has not started to administer vaccines against Covid-19. Officially, the country plans to start vaccinating people on January 8, but there was some speculation on Saturday that the plan could be accelerated.
The Pfizer vaccine is the only one which has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) thus far, and it needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, making logistics complicated. The EMA was expected to rule next week on another vaccine candidate produced by Moderna. More data about a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University was also submitted as part of the EMA’s rolling review process on December 21.
The Netherlands planned to receive 12 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine over the course of the year, including 4.5 million in the first quarter alone. It is the vaccine which the Cabinet expects to use to inoculate the most people during 2021.
Like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, people require two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be most protected against Covid-19.