Health council to assess if AstraZeneca age limit can be lowered


The Dutch cabinet is considering lowering the age limit for the AstraZeneca vaccine from 60 and has asked the health council for its opinion.

The request follows the European Medicines Agency’s statement last week in which it said that the risk of rare blood clots as a side effect is outweighed by the importance of the vaccine across all age groups.

The Netherlands has restricted use of the vaccine to people aged 60-64, despite the EMA’s recommendations, and this will result in a glut of vaccines in May.

Some 11 million doses are on order and the public health institute’s vaccine chief evoked anger at the weekend when he told the AD most will not be used.

Health minister Hugo de Jonge has also asked the council to assess if the gap between the two doses can be reduced from 12 weeks – a decision originally taken because of the shortage of vaccines.

‘However, the improved availability of vaccines… means the interval between vaccinations can be shorter, so speeding up the programme,’ the minister said.

The Netherlands is currently carrying out some 100,000 vaccinations a day, and 5.2 million doses have now been administered.

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