The Netherlands has ordered an extra 6.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to boost immunity against new variants of coronavirus.
The European Union announced last week that it was taking up an option in its contract with the manufacturer to acquire an extra 150 million booster doses from the third quarter of 2022.
In a letter to parliament, De Jonge said the deal would ensure there were enough vaccines available for 2022 and 2023. It also requires Moderna to deliver adapted vaccines in response to new variants of concern.
A similar agreement has already been reached with BioNTech, manufacturers of the Pfizer vaccine. De Jonge said 90% of vaccines ordered for the next two years were based on mRNA technology, which offers slightly better protection than vector vaccines such as AstraZeneca and Janssen.
A total of 30 million coronavirus vaccines have been ordered up till the end of 2023, enough to ensure everyone over the age of 12 can receive two doses.
Paediatricians said on Monday that they now supported giving the vaccine to teenagers to contain the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.
Károly Illy, chair of the Dutch Paediatric Society NVK and a member of the outbreak management team, said the organisation had previously taken the view that the direct risk to children was too low to justify giving them the vaccine unless they had underlying health conditions.
‘But the latest models predicting the spread of the illness make it clear that the number of infections will increase considerably in the autumn if teenagers are not vaccinated,’ he told the Volkskrant.
Another 12 million doses of Moderna are due to be delivered by the end of this year, but only 3 million of them are expected to be used in the Netherlands. The rest will be donated.
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