Dutch Health Council officially recommends extra Covid booster for some with immune disorders
The Dutch Health Council advised an extra Covid-19 vaccine dose for people with serious immune disorders, to give their immune system a boost in protecting against the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. An estimated 200 thousand people in the Netherlands have serious immune disorders, NOS reports.
The Health Council recommended letting doctors determine exactly who needs a booster shot. These should include people who had no or insufficient immune response after two Covid-19 vaccine doses.
The Health Council also advised that preparations should be made to eventually also give other groups a booster vaccination, in case the vaccines' effectiveness in preventing serious illness decrease. According to the Health Council, this is not the case at the moment. "As soon as there is a declining trend in vaccine effectiveness against severe disease, booster vaccination should be considered."
The initial results of a Dutch study released last week showed that vaccination against Covid-19 is just as effective in most patients with an autoimmune disease as people without such an illness, including those taking the most common immunosuppressive medications. The study from the Amsterdam UMC and the Sanquin blood banks showed that there were exceptions to this, specifically in those patients prescribed on the drugs rituximab, ocrelizumab and fingolimod. Those patients still likely generate some form of protection against Covid-19, but the extent and the manner in which this happens will be further investigated.
The preliminary results of the study, the first of its kind globally, were shared with the Ministry of Health last week. The researchers thought Minister Hugo de Jonge could use the results when determining who will first qualify for an additional Covid-19 vaccine booster shot.
The World Health Organization repeatedly urged developed countries to refrain from giving their populations booster shots until everyone in the world has had the chance to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Nevertheless, a number of countries are already making booster shots available. France, Germany and Belgium, among others, are doing so for vulnerable people. Israel and Hungary for anyone who wants one.