Dutch start using AstraZeneca vaccine, family doctors now come on board

A refrigerated unit with coronavirus vaccines in Oss. Photo: Remko de Waal ANP
A refrigerated unit with coronavirus vaccines in Oss. Photo: Remko de Waal ANP

A third vaccine in the Dutch coronavirus campaign came into use on Friday – the AstraZeneca vaccine which was approved for use by the European Medicines Agency at the end of January.

In the Netherlands, the two-dose AstraZeneca vaccination is being given to people aged 60 to 65 as well as younger adults with morbid obesity and the over 18s with Down’s syndrome. Healthcare workers who have not yet been vaccinated will also come on board.

From Monday, family doctors in Zeeland will start vaccinating their patients with the vaccine, and the programme will then be rolled out to Limburg, Brabant and then the rest of the country.

The Netherlands is slowly rising up the charts in terms of how many people have been vaccinated, after starting later than all other EU countries, RTL Nieuws reported on Friday.

The broadcaster said on Thursday that 460,000 doses of vaccine have now been administered, mainly to the elderly and healthcare workers. The Netherlands has a population of 17.4 million, and health minister Hugo de Jonge has said again that everyone will be vaccinated by October 1.

The Netherlands is expected to receive 1.4 million AstraZeneca vaccines in the first three months of this year, well down on the 4.5 million doses which had been ordered.

The second dose will be administered between four and 12 weeks after the first.

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