Oldest residents to soon get Covid vaccine booster shots in Netherlands
The oldest group of elderly people living in the Netherlands will soon be eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine booster shot, announced Health Minister Hugo de Jonge on Tuesday. An extra dose of the vaccine is intended to maintain protection against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. De Jonge said the Cabinet will make a decision in November to determine when the administration of the booster shots will officially begin.
Most fully vaccinated people have received either one dose of the Janssen vaccine or two doses of any other vaccine approved for use in the European Union. People with certain immune disorders have already begun to receive an extra vaccine dose to increase their chance of building up an initial immunity against the virus, but that is not considered the same as a booster shot. A booster is intended to restore waning protection from the vaccine to its original level.
The Dutch Health Council will first provide guidance to the ministry before the booster injection round begins. They will help determine which age groups will be eligible and if people can also receive an extra shot if they received the Janssen vaccine.
De Jonge also wants to consult with the RIVM and the GGD to determine exactly the right moment when the extra shots will be given. He said the government was already well prepared to administer an extra round of injections.
Making a booster shot mandatory to get a coronavirus access pass in the CoronaCheck app "is not yet on the agenda," the minister said. De Jonge pointed out that the vaccines provide good protection against severe Covid-19 symptoms and hospitalization. Only the protection against infection decreases, he said.
Thus, an extra shot might not be valuable to those still protected from becoming seriously ill, though they may become infected.
Reporting by ANP.