NL will catch up on delayed vaccinations once AstraZeneca is cleared, health institute says
As soon as the AtsraZeneca vaccine is cleared to be used again, extra appointments will be scheduled to clear the backlog caused by the vaccine not being used in the coming weeks, public health institute RIVM said on Monday. The GGD health services have enough people at the vaccination sites to "make up for the delay quickly", the service said to ANP.
Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health also told television program Goedemorgen Nederland that he does not expect this pause in AstraZeneca vaccinations to cause a major delay. He is hopeful that the vaccines will be cleared and can then simply be used again. "If we can continue as usual in a few weeks, and I assume that we can, then it really doesn't make much of a difference with where we were."
On Sunday, the Ministry of Public Health suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines until March 28 following reports of people presenting with thrombosis after getting the vaccine in Denmark and Norway.
Dutch side effects lab Lareb said it received 10 reports of possible thrombosis after this vaccine, but none of the reports were serious and matched the image sketched by Denmark and Norway. Lareb director Agnes Kant also stressed to NOS that reports of possible thrombosis were not limited to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Nevertheless, all appointments for AstraZeneca vaccines scheduled for the coming two weeks were canceled. Those affected were notified via text message. This involved around 43 thousand people. They can't just be given another vaccine, the RIVM said. "There is scarcity, it is not the case that a large stock is ready. What we had planned was everything that was available in the coming weeks."
The GGD call centers had phones ringing off the hook on Monday, a spokesperson for umbrella organization GGD GHOR Nederland said to ANP. "We also notice that people ask a lot of questions. People who were already vaccinated wonder whether they will get their second shot on time," the spokesperson said. The AstraZeneca vaccine was first used in the Netherlands in mid-February. The second dose must follow within 12 weeks. So there is time until mid-May, the spokesperson said.