The Dutch government is aiming to further speed up the coronavirus vaccination process, following widespread criticism of the slow and bureaucratic approach.
Health minister Hugo de Jonge has told MPs in a briefing that by early March, two million vaccinations should have been given, as capacity expands.
The current 25 mass vaccination centres have capacity to carry out 230,000 vaccinations a week. By April, De Jonge said, there should be 100 locations nationwide carrying out the programme, with capacity for 450,000 vaccinations a week. By June, he said, capacity should have increased to 700,000.
Meanwhile, the stockpile of Pfizer vaccines – which had been kept to ensure people could get the second dose – is now being used up in a further effort to speed up progress.
However, it is still unclear how many doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which had formed the backbone of the Dutch strategy, will be delivered. Officials in The Hague hope to receive 125,000 doses next week followed by 675,000 in February and the same again in March.
The Netherlands has also bought eight million more doses of the Moderna vaccine, he said.
De Jonge told reporters at Tuesday night’s press conference that the Netherlands has now ordered over 80 million doses from eight different pharmaceuticals companies up to the first quarter of 2022, and that 60 million have been allocated under EU rules.
The Netherlands has a population of 17.4 million.
MPs are due to discuss the vaccination strategy with De Jonge later on Wednesday.
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