Pace of booster shot campaign slowing down
The pace of the booster shot campaign against the coronavirus picked up considerably in the past weeks but is now slowing down for the first time. The number of scheduled appointments is also decreasing somewhat. That is apparent from the latest state of the vaccination campaign released on Thursday. There is room for free walk-ins in more and more places where people can get a vaccination without an appointment. Several regions say the peak of this vaccination round is over.
Just under half of all adults in the Netherlands received a booster shot to date. That is almost 7.1 million people. The turnout by age group is not yet known.
About 1.6 million shots were administered in the seven days leading up to Wednesday. That is slightly lower than the injection rate for the entire previous calendar week. Then 1.86 million booster shots were administered in seven days. Never before had so many people been boosted in a week. Last Thursday, the counter stood at almost 5.5 million booster shots and 1.7 million a week earlier.
For the next seven days, including early next week, just over 600,000 people have an appointment for a booster shot. Because more and more regions are switching to free walk-ins, the final number of boosts may be higher. About 900,000 appointments were scheduled for this calendar week.
The GGDs have now administered almost 6.3 million booster shots. The GGD campaign started with mobile senior citizens and people who work in long-term care like nursing homes, but now all adults have been invited.
In addition, an estimated 814,000 people received their shot at an institution or hospital. In institutions, this concerns nursing home residents or people with Down syndrome, for example. Hospitals vaccinate their own doctors and nurses, general practitioners, and ambulance staff.
Nearly 132,000 people received an additional vaccination. These are people with a severe immune disorder, which means they may not have built up enough protection against the coronavirus after being fully vaccinated.
The government wants every eligible adult to have had the chance to get a booster shot by the end of January.
The Cabinet is holding a press conference on Friday evening to announce what the coronavirus restrictions will look like in the coming period. The previous Cabinet put the Netherlands in a hard lockdown on December 19, partly to give the booster shot campaign time to gain momentum.
As usual, the main points of the Cabinet's plans leaked out early, this time on Thursday. The Cabinet is expected to relax the coronavirus rules by allowing higher education students to return to class, and the limited reopening of non-essential retail stores, close-contact service professions, and fitness centers from Saturday. Rules about sports participation may also be modified.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.