Fewer people were vaccinated than expected last week, partly because not enough people signed up for a jab, according to public health institute RIVM.
On Monday it emerged that just 280,570 people were vaccinated last week, well below the 416,000 target.
‘There were enough vaccines, but the appointments were not being made quickly enough,’ the RIVM’s vaccine chief Jaap van Delden told reporters. The exact cause is still being looked into, but Van Delden said part of the reason appears to be that the group currently scheduled for vaccinations is making fewer appointments than expected.
For example, just 36,000 appointments for the AstraZeneca vaccine were made, when there were 100,000 available, he said. The Netherlands resumed using the vaccine last week, after it was pronounced safe by the European Medicines Agency.
Bottlenecks at family doctors and long waits at the appointment call centre could also be having an impact, he said.
Health minister Hugo de Jonge has also acknowledged that the number of vaccinations carried out last week is trailing expectations. ‘The prognosis was too high, the realization too low,’ he said.
He said he hoped that this week, between 400,000 and 500,000 people would be vaccinated.
From this week too, mobile teams would visit residential care homes and make sure everyone who has not yet been vaccinated is offered a jab.
Meanwhile, American pharmaceuticals company Johnson & Johnson said it expected to begin deliveries of its Leiden-developed vaccine to Europe on April 19. The one-dose vaccine is the fourth to be cleared for use in the EU.
De Jonge has also asked the Dutch health council to look again at the possibility of delaying the second round of Pfizer vaccinations. The second jab is now given within six weeks and the health council earlier confirmed that position.
However, the rising number of infections and hospitalisations have led De Jonge to ask the council to look at the issue again, so that more people can be given a first vaccination more quickly.
Acute care chief Ernst Kuipers has called for everyone over the age of 50 to be given their first vaccination before the over 70s get their second.
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