Monday 17 May 2021

The Netherlands restarts AstraZeneca vaccination programme

The Netherlands will resume using the AstraZeneca vaccine after the weekend, following the European Medicine Agency’s assertion that the vaccine is safe, health minister Hugo de Jonge has confirmed.

The first vaccines will be given on Monday with the full vaccination programme in operation by Wednesday, De Jonge told reporters.

The Netherlands was one of a number of EU countries to stop using the vaccine after reports of blood clotting problems. The EMA said on Thursday that the vaccine is both safe and effective.

The suspension meant people aged between 60 and 64 and those with morbid obesity or Down’s syndrome, in Flevoland, Gelderland and Utrecht provinces, have had to wait longer to be immunised. Some healthcare workers and people living and working in institutional care were also affected.

Family doctors and regional health boards must now reschedule the thousands of appointments which were cancelled when use of the vaccine was halted.

So far, 350,000 people in the Netherlands have had the AstraZeneca vaccine and 795,000 doses have been delivered. A further 3.2 million doses are expected by the end of June.

Some 20 million people have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine worldwide.

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