Most over 60 year olds can get booster shot this year; Criticism understandable: Health Min.
Everyone over 60 who received their last vaccination six months or more ago can get a booster shot this year. That said, Healthcare Minister Hugo de Jonge to parliament during the coronavirus debate. In the Netherlands, the medical guideline is to wait six months between the last vaccination and the administration of a booster shot to boost the immune system against the virus. De Jonge strives for everyone to get the shot in the seventh month after the last vaccination.
To achieve this goal, the GGDs will administer 200,000 booster shots this week, 350,000 next week, increasing to 700,000 boosters per week in the following weeks. Soldiers, medical students, vets, former nurses, and former doctors will help with this. There will be at least eighty large locations for this. People over 60 can also be jabbed at other sites, for example, if they work in hospitals and with general practitioners.
The Cabinet faced intense criticism from parliament about the slow progress of the booster campaign. It started much later in the Netherlands and is also slower. The Netherlands dangles at the bottom of the list of countries in Europe, the PvdA, among others, told the Minister. As a result, relatively many older people, whose resistance to the virus had already decreased, have become ill and have also died.
Parties pointed out that studies from other countries showed the usefulness of a booster shot. The Health Council advised on November 2 to start giving booster shots to older people and residents of care institutions. The questions in parliament about the slow start of the booster campaign are justified, De Jonge said, but he did not want to draw conclusions himself. "I think it is good to put the question to the RIVM and Health Council," he said."
De Jonge will elaborate on the plan to accelerate the booster campaign on Friday.
Not all people over 60 will receive an invite for a booster this year because, for example, they received their second vaccination after July 1. According to the Ministry, they will only receive an invitation once a period of six months has passed.
The elderly were the first in line for a vaccine in the spring, but not everyone immediately accepted it. Many people also received AstraZeneca, which initially had a longer interval between injections. The boosters are precisely the same as a regular vaccine. It will be Pfizer or Moderna, no matter what the initial vaccinations were.
According to Statistics Netherlands figures, there are over 4.5 million people over the age of 60 in the Netherlands. According to the acceleration proposed by De Jonge, the number of booster shots administered by the GGD this year will be 2.7 million.
Reporting by ANP