The Dutch health council Gezondheidsraad is recommending that everyone in the Netherlands over the age of 18 be offered a booster shot, once the over 60s have been helped first.
‘Now the infection rate is high, the risk is increasing that the under 60s will also become seriously ill,’ the council said in a statement. ‘A booster vaccination can improve the protection for this group.’
It is, however, important that older people and people living in residential care be helped first, the health council said.
The Netherlands has only just started its booster campaign, and people born in 1939 are currently being called up for an extra dose.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control is also recommending an additional coronavirus vaccine dose for everyone over the age of 18.
The ECDC has already raised concerns about the high number of cases in nine EU countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium. All these countries face a very difficult December and January, ECDC director Andrea Ammon told reporters on Wednesday.
The ECDC is now recommending that everyone over the age of 18 is given a booster injection, with priority for the over-40s.
‘This is to increase protection against infection due to waning immunity which could potentially reduce the transmission in the population and prevent additional hospitalisations and deaths. The booster dose is recommended six months after completing the primary schedule at the earliest,’ Ammon said.
In the meantime, she said, governments should ban large events, ensure the use of face masks and social distancing and encourage people to avoid busy places.
The EU is also recommending people should have a booster shot within nine months of completing their first vaccination programme in order to qualify for an EU coronavirus travel pass.
The move is to to try to ensure a level playing field within Europe, because some countries have already mooted making booster shots a requirement. The EU recommendations are advisory only, and it is up to individual member states whether or not to comply.
Some 83% of the over-11s in the Netherlands are now fully vaccinated against coronavirus but there are no plans, as yet, to vaccinate younger children.
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