Health Council doubted relevancy of Israeli Covid-19 booster study delaying vaccination campaign
The Netherlands is behind other countries when it comes to administering Covid-19 booster vaccines because the Health Council doubted the relevancy of Israeli studies for the Dutch context, NRC reported.
An Israeli study in July showed that the efficiency of the Pfizer vaccine was declining. Experts in the Netherlands said in September that the results of the Israeli study were difficult to compare because in Israel, second doses were administered three weeks after the first shots and in the Netherlands, the waiting period takes six weeks. "It was a question of how representative the situation in Israel would be for a longer period," virologist and member of the Health Council Marion Koopmans told NRC.
The Heath Council was uncertain about the urgency of administering booster shots. "There were not any studies at the time that definitively pointed to the necessity of booster shots," Koopmans said. The World Health Organization (WHO) also advised rich countries to wait with administering booster shots to give poorer countries the chance to provide their population with their initial Covid-19 vaccine doses.
Koopmans said that the Health Council should have stressed the importance of preparing for a booster campaign. "In September, we already said: prepare yourselves well. That should have been more explicit."
According to Immunologist Huub Savelkoul, there were enough indications in September that the Netherlands should start with a booster campaign based on the studies from Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden. "You could have said: Maybe, we don't see it yet in the Netherlands, but we do see it in many other countries, so it could also happen here." The UK, Germany and France began with their booster campaign in September.
"We tend in the Netherlands to repeat studies for ourselves and only believe the results once we see them ourselves. But they're also not completely crazy abroad," Savelkoul said.