Covid vaccine boosters should be given to 60+ population: Dutch Health Council
People who are 60 years of age and over should be offered a Covid-19 vaccine booster shot, as well as all residents of care facilities, the Dutch Health Council said on Tuesday. Simultaneously, the Health Council also said that the vaccines used in the Netherlands are very effective against serious cases of Covid-19.
It noted research showing that the normal course of the vaccines may not be as effective in people who are older, starting with those in their sixties. They are also at a higher risk for more symptoms of the coronavirus disease. The Council said that the first booster shots should be given to the oldest people in the country, similar to the initial vaccine rollout at the beginning of the year.
Boosters should also be offered to all adults who are residents of care facilities, including nursing homes, elderly community centers, and institutions which provide care for people with intellectual disabilities. These extra vaccine doses should be given to adult residents regardless of their age, the Council said. It justified this advice because of concerns about rising levels of coronavirus infections in residential care centers.
People with certain health issues affecting the immune system already qualify for an additional vaccine dose. However, these are considered part of the normal course of vaccination, and are not classified as booster shots.
Despite rising infections in the Netherlands, the Health Council has not seen enough research to justify expanding booster shot availability to younger populations. "There is no evidence that the protection of Covid-19 vaccines against serious illness or hospitalization is inadequate for them, regardless of the vaccine used," the organizations said on Tuesday.
The Council said booster shots should be given at least six months after a person received their final vaccine shot, whether it be the second dose of a two-shot vaccine, one shot of the Janssen Vaccine, or one shot after a recent recovery from Covid-19. Boosters given in the Netherlands should be from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, regardless of which vaccine was initially used.
The organization provides advice to the Ministry fo Health, leaving the decision to Minister Hugo de Jonge. Both he and Prime Minister Mark Rutte will hold a press conference on Tuesday about changes to the national coronavirus policy. The health minister has previously used dates in which the evening press conferences are held to also announce changes to the national vaccination plan.