Everyone who tested positive for Covid will receive one vaccine dose only
The Netherlands will only offer one Covid-19 vaccine shot to people who were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus regardless of when they tested positive for the virus, confirmed Health Minister Hugo de Jonge. Previously, the ministry's policy was to provide one shot to anyone who acquired the infection within six months of vaccination, even if two shots of the vaccine used are required for maximum protection.
Those people will still be considered "fully vaccinated" for the purpose of receiving the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which will make it easier for them to travel abroad.
In making the decision, De Jonge accepted the advice of the Outbreak Management Team issued earlier this week. It allows the country to be more efficient with its vaccine use, now that nearly everyone will be offered mRNA vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna which generally require two shots for maximum protection. Few people will continue to be given the two-shot vaccine from AstraZeneca or the one-shot vaccine from Janssen.
The OMT decided to adjust its advice following a review of new research. "On the basis of new studies, this period of six months can be abandoned. A past Covid infection leads to a broad stimulation of the immune system and that is why one shot already provides high concentrations of antibodies against the virus," the ministry wrote in a statement.
People older than 80 and those whose immune systems are weakened due to underlying health conditions are exempt from the newest advice. They are still advised to receive two doses of an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine such as that of BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna.
Anyone who is unsure if they actually had Covid-19 can still get two vaccine doses, unless they're receiving the Janssen Vaccine. Those who have tested positive should contact the GGD to make sure the test results are known to them. They can then cancel their appointment for a second shot with the GGD or by contacting their general physician.
The ministry asked that people go through the process to cancel any scheduled appointments, instead of simply not showing up.