The Netherlands started its coronavirus booster vaccination campaign on Thursday, with the over 80s and hospital staff first in line for the top-up jab.
The government had planned to roll out the campaign in December but brought it forward two weeks under pressure from both MPs and healthcare experts.
Under current government strategy, everyone over the age of 60 will be invited for a booster jab, as will everyone living in residential care and front-line staff.
The government decided to back booster jabs following reports which show the efficacy of vaccines does go down among older people over time. Some 44% of current coronavirus hospital patients have been vaccinated but by far the majority are over the age of 70.
The majority of hospital patients, however, have not been vaccinated and their average age is 59.
Another 20,829 coronavirus cases were confirmed in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, as the Netherlands set a new record for the third day in a row.
Almost 83% of the over-12s in the Netherlands are now fully vaccinated against coronavirus, according to government figures. As yet, the Netherlands has no plans to vaccinate younger children, even though cases are soaring at primary schools.
Figures published by public health institute RIVM earlier this week show the he virus is spreading fastest among school-age children, with 85% more infections in the five-to-nine age group and 76% more among 10 to 14-year-olds.
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