Over 52,000 children under 12 have received a Covid jab; Novavax ready in March
In recent weeks, 52,047 children under the age of 12 have received a shot to protect them against Covid-19. That is four percent of all children in this age group. Some 351 children aged 5 to 11 have even received their second shot, with which they are considered to be fully vaccinated.
The RIVM published its first figures on vaccinations among young children on Tuesday. Children aged 5 to 11 with medical risks were allowed to be vaccinated starting in mid-December. This includes children with a congenital heart defect, Down syndrome, and other health issues. They may be at greater risk of encountering serious complications if they become infected with the coronavirus.
The children without any medical risks followed in mid-January. Children under 12 receive two shots of a smaller dose of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech than people aged 12 years and older. Children with a medical risk get the second shot after four weeks, while healthy children get it after eight weeks. A total of 1.3 million children can receive the jab.
The number of Covid-19 booster shots administered is continuing to fall, according to weekly figures from the RIVM. Just over 232,000 people received a booster jab last week to strengthen their defenses against the coronavirus, about half as many as a week earlier. It is also the lowest number of shots given since the end of November, just after the booster campaign got underway.
Nearly 7,000 people aged 12 years and older received their first-ever Covid-19 vaccine shot last week, almost the same as the week before. In addition, more than 14,000 people received a second shot, less than in previous weeks.
Novavax to become available shortly
The new Covid-19 vaccine from Novavax is not yet available in the Netherlands, but it will probably be available somewhere in March. Plans to make this possible are still being worked out, the RIVM said. The vaccine was approved by the European Commission in December, on the advice of the European Medicines Agency in Amsterdam.
Its method is more traditional than the other vaccines approved for use, in that it contains small particles of the proteins from the spikes of the coronavirus. The virus uses those protrusions to penetrate a cell and infect people, and the vaccine teaches the immune system to recognize and attack those particles.
Because the Novavax vaccine works differently from the others, the vaccine may be more attractive to people who have not wanted to get a mRNA vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna, or a vector vaccine, like the jab from AstraZeneca and the one-shot product made by Janssen. The Health Council recommends making the Novavax vaccine available to that group.
People will get two shots of the Novavax vaccine, separated by three weeks.
Reporting by ANP