Wednesday 22 September 2021

Some 700,000 Dutch are not adequately protected by two vaccinations

Two vaccines may not be enough for some Photo: Depositphotos.com

Hundreds of thousands of Dutch people who do not have a well-functioning immune system will not be adequately protected by coronavirus vaccines, according to preliminary results from four studies.

In a webinar and news release on Tuesday from ZonMw, the health financing organisation, announced that for some groups of patients, two vaccinations are not enough.

It is sponsoring eight studies into the impact on patients with immune system problems, cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or immune system therapy, people with blood cancer, kidney and lung transplants, HIV, Down’s syndrome and people receiving dialysis.

‘Normally a vaccine stimulates the immune system’ it said in a news release. ‘In these patients, vaccines work differently or not as well, while they have a large risk of more serious consequences if they are infected.’

Antibodies

Initial results from four of the studies, discussed in the webinar but not yet published or peer reviewed, suggest patients with serious kidney problems have a three or four times greater than average chance of dying with Covid-19, but that around 80% who were fully vaccinated developed sufficient antibodies. But for patients who had had a kidney transplant, two thirds did not react (enough) to the vaccination and did not build up sufficient protection.

Although lung transplant patients who survived Covid-19 built up sufficient immunity, those who were just vaccinated in the study generally did not. Of around 100 people taking part, only 13 had enough antibodies to protect them.

People with blood and lymph node cancer in the study sometimes responded well, and sometimes didn’t.

Critical

Jaap van Dissel, director of the infectious diseases centre at the RIVM public health institute told politicians on Thursday that around 700,000 Dutch people may be ‘non-responders’ who do not develop enough antibodies after two vaccinations.

‘At the end of the day, this means it is critical that the level of vaccination is as high as possible in the Netherlands,’ he said, according to NOS. ‘This will give everyone the most peace of mind.

‘We believe that the coronavirus will stick around and this means you would expect that everyone who is not vaccinated will get the virus sooner or later and could be sick.’

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