Repeat covid vaccinations opened to all as postive tests mount

A test and vaccination centre in Amsterdam. Photo:
A test and vaccination centre in Amsterdam. Photo:

Everyone over the age of 12 is now being invited to sign up for another coronavirus vaccination, the health ministry has confirmed. With covid infections once again on the rise, health officials say getting the top-up jabs will help slow the spread of the virus.

People aged 40 to 60 can make an appointment via website next week, while the rest of the over-12s will be able to do so later this month, the ministry said.

Coronavirus infections have increased rapidly in recent weeks, increasing pressure on the healthcare system. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital has risen from over 400 to more than 1,100 in a month while the number of nursing home residents testing positive for coronavirus rose by 23% over the past week.

For now, health minister Ernst Kuipers says no further measures against Covid need to be taken, although he says he welcomes any that individual companies or organisations put in place. Sectors including the catering industry, hair salons, beauticians, retail and sex workers have all made plans over the past months to prepare for a new autumnal wave of infection.

Kuipers says any further measures will be based on the number of infections and how sick people get. Generally, people do not get very sick from the current omicron variant circulating. But he noted that the ‘vaccination programme helps a lot, it prevents infections, it prevents getting seriously ill and it probably also prevents long-term complaints after infection.’

Earlier this week, a report by the safety council concluded that the initial Dutch vaccination programme against Covid-19 was held back because the government’s initial response was poorly planned, being too reliant on family doctors.

The Netherlands was the last country in the EU to begin vaccinating its citizens in January 2021 and lagged behind the rest of Europe for most of the first half of the year.

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