Slow booster shot rollout cost lives, experts say
The Netherlands waited too long to start administering Covid-19 booster shots, which cost lives, experts told newspaper AD.
The experts said that the country's hesitance around the third jab of Covid-19 vaccines gave the aggressive Delta variant more chance to spread. The GGDs waited for the Health Council to give the formal go-ahead. And then it still took weeks to get the rollout started. And in the meantime, the coronavirus spread like wildfire in nursing homes, with about 900 locations identifying at least one case in the last month.
A quick booster shot could have made a big difference, said Jos van de Sande, former head of infectious diseases at GGD Hart voor Brabant. "It is ridiculous that the boosters are taking so long, a debacle," he said. Infections in nursing homes have been rising since October. "There are extra deaths because we started so late."
The Health Council gave the green light on November 2. The booster campaign among older Netherlands residents started last week. Before that, the Netherlands only gave boosters to people with severe immune disorders.
Former RIVM director Roel Coutinho does not understand what took so long. "You should be able to start the day after the advice. The Ministry knew what was coming. The Minister even anticipated the advice in October," he said to AD. "There was time. Now it takes weeks, and it only happens little by little."