Coronavirus booster jabs for over-80s will start in December
Booster jabs for people over 80 will not be available until the start of December, the umbrella body for Dutch regional health boards has said.
GGD-GHOR said December 6 was the earliest date that third vaccine shots could be rolled out after the health advisory council recommended them for everybody over the age of 60.
Nearly 900,000 people over 80 will receive invitations from the RIVM for their third dose in the second half of November. The vaccines will also be available for around 110,000 people living in care institutions and 35,000 people under 80 with restricted mobility.
Booster vaccines will be available for everyone aged 60 to 79 from January, while medical staff working with coronavirus patients and in long-term care will be eligible at a later date.
Jaap van Dissel, the public health agency RIVM’s head of infectious disease control, told a technical briefing in parliament on Wednesday that the vaccines given earlier in the year may be starting to wane.
The vaccine still remains 94% effective against hospital admission, but protection from infection has declined from 75% in June to 50% in October, Van Dissel said.
‘We need to observe it for a few weeks to see if what is happening is a structural issue,’ he said.
Van Dissel said the reduced effectiveness could also be a seasonal effect, as people are generally more prone to respiratory illnesses such as colds, flu and Covid-19 in the autumn and winter months.
The RIVM also published research showing that between 7% and 11% of Dutch people refused point-blank to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
Around one in three of people who told a survey they would not accept the vaccine came from a so-called non-western background, Mariska van Blankers of the RIVM told MPs, while 12% were from Dutch Protestant communities.
Van Blankers, who is in charge of the RIVM’s Covid-19 vaccination programme, said the refusal rate was ‘higher than for other vaccines in the national vaccination scheme’. One in five of people surveyed were unsure if they would get the jab.
Vaccine rates are lower than average in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, but not in Utrecht, as well as in some Bible Belt communities.
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