Wednesday 20 October 2021

Vaccination of healthcare workers begins in three more regions

The TT circuit in Assen is being used as a vaccination centre. Photo: Marcel Jurian de Jong/ANP

Three more regions have begun vaccinating healthcare workers as the Netherlands rolls out its immunisation programme across the country.

The TT circuit in Assen, Drenthe, is one of three locations being used for the large-scale vaccinations, along with the RAI conference centre in Amsterdam and the Cars Jeans Stadium in The Hague, home of ADO Den Haag.

The first vaccines were administered last week in Noord-Brabant, Rotterdam and Utrecht. By the end of the week all 25 health board regions will have started immunising staff in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Around 31,000 staff have received the vaccine so far.

Red Cross volunteers have been recruited to help at vaccination facilities to give first aid to people who experience side effects of the vaccine. A small number of people experience joint or muscle pain, high temperatures and headaches for up to a few days after receiving the jab, but the Dutch medicines agency CBG said these symptoms were rare and mild.

The public health agency RIVM said the first batch of Moderna vaccines would arrive this week and a plan drawn up to start distributing them to the vaccination centres next week.

The Netherlands has ordered six million doses of the US-produced vaccine, of which 400,000 are due to arrive by the end of March, health minister Hugo de Jonge said last week. The vaccine was approved by the European Medicines Agency last Wednesday.

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna jab can be stored in a regular fridge for up to 30 days, making it more suitable for use by family doctors and smaller institutional care facilities.

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