Gap between two AstraZeneca Covid jabs can be shortened: Dutch Health Council
The interval between two doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine can potentially be reduced, the Dutch Health Council stated in new advice to caretaker Health Minister Hugo de Jonge. The Council said the Ministry of Health should not yet make any changes in its guidance to healthcare workers because there is not yet enough scientific data to overrule the current product information which calls for shots to be given between four and 12 weeks apart.
Additionally, the Council said there was preliminary research which suggested that efficacy is further improved when the shots are separated by 12 weeks. "However, this study has limitations that prevent conclusions from being drawn from the results. Practical data from the vaccination program on the optimal interval are not yet available," the Health council stated.
Previously, the Council recommended a period of twelve weeks between the first and second injections with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The 12-week gap was meant to provide at least one shot of the vaccine to as many people as possible. This was especially important during the initial phase of the vaccination campaign when Dutch vaccination figures were lagging behind much of Europe.
The newest guidance from the advisory body came after De Jonge approached the Council asking them to reevaluate the most optimal time between the two shots.
The government of the United Kingdom decided on May 15 to bring forward the second doses of Covid-19 vaccines from 12 weeks to eight weeks after the first. The decision concerned those aged over 50 from all risk groups.
This was done to tackle the spread of the B.1.617 strain of the virus which includes several variants linked to a recent outbreak of coronavirus infections in India.