Thursday 20 January 2022

Dutch health council backs Novavax for people who object to mRNA vaccines

The Dutch health council is recommending that people who have not yet been vaccinated against coronavirus but have a principle objection to the types currently on offer be given the option of the new Novavax vaccine.

The Gezondheidsraad said that it still recommended the Pfizer Biontech and Moderna vaccines above other brands but said that the Novavax vaccine was suitable for people who do not want a messenger RNA dose. The mRNA type of vaccine uses nanoparticles or liposomes to deliver the mRNA protein and trigger the immune system to produce antibodies.

The health council says that the Novavax vaccine,  which is based on protein, provides 60% to 90% protection against developing coronavirus and that two doses are needed, three weeks apart.

It was earlier approved by the European Medicines Agency and the Netherlands has ordered 840,000 doses, which will be delivered by the end of February at the earliest.

It is not yet clear how effective the new vaccine is against the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

The Omicron variant is now the most common type in Amsterdam, according to research by the local health board and Amsterdam’s UMC teaching hospital.

In total 63 of 106 samples analysed for virus type were Omicron, the research team said.

Dutch public health institute RIVM expects Omicron to be the dominant version nationwide by the end of the year.

Testing

Meanwhile, the health ministry has confirmed to DutchNews.nl that some 1,500 positive coronavirus test samples are analysed a week to determine the different variants of the virus currently in circulation.

The sequencing is carried out in 40 labs nationwide, the spokesman said. In addition, three labs have a standard PCR test available which shows if the Omicron variant is involved.

A total of 13,400 new positive tests were reported to the RIVM in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, slightly above the average over the past seven days and in line with Wednesday’s figure.

The number of hospital patients continues to decline. There are now 2,240 people being treated for coronavirus in hospital, of whom 583 are in an intensive care ward.

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