NL urgently has to speed up first Covid vaccinations, ICU expert says
Ernst Kuipers, head of the national acute care network LNAZ, again called on the government speed up the vaccination process "as soon as possible". According to him, the Netherlands needs to change its vaccination strategy to focus on giving as many groups as possible their first vaccine in order to relieve pressure on the healthcare system, De Telegraaf reports.
On Monday, public health institute RIVM reported 6,340 new coronavirus infections. Covid-19 hospitalizations in the Netherlands increased by six percent between Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon. Regular wards were treating 1,555 coronavirus patients on Monday afternoon, intensive care units were treating 638 patients.
Kuipers referred to the United Kingdom, where the population is being vaccinated at breakneck speed and infection numbers are falling. The Netherlands is focusing on vaccinating risk groups, keeping vaccines on hand for the second dose. About 2 million coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the Netherlands, including around 500 thousand second doses.
"That has to be done faster," Kuipers said. According to him, it is important to make sure as many people as possible get their first dose because the first vaccine already "protects strongly", even if this means that people have to wait longer for the second dose. "You have to keep vaccinating. Vaccination is the way out of this. We have a stock of about two weeks. It must be possible to reduce it. That will really help."
According to Kuipers, relaxing the coronavirus lockdown now would be simply irresponsible. But he has hope that the Netherlands can look forward to a "relatively" normal summer. 'It is difficult to give certainty. But I have strong hopes. I think we can really count on that. We saw last year that we could do a lot in the summer - without vaccination. Large numbers of vaccines are becoming available. They really have a protective effect. Add those two things together. Then I dare say: it will really be different."