Tuesday 09 August 2022

Health council backs second booster for over-70s, and immunity disorders

Photo: DutchNews.nl

People over the age of 70, nursing home residents and those with serious immune system disorders should be able to get a second coronavirus booster shot three months after the first, the Dutch health council said on Friday.

But second boosters are not necessary for the rest of the population in the short term, the health council said, in a new set of recommendations for the government.

Research in countries which began giving people boosters earlier than the Netherlands suggests that after 15 weeks the protection against an Omicron infection offered by the booster has almost halved – although it is effective for much longer against serious illness.

However, the lack of strong evidence has led to the health council to follow the ‘better safe than sorry’, principle, the agency said. As the elderly and people in frail health were first given the booster, they should have priority in the second round.

The council will look again at the situation in March to see if this should be expanded.

Health minister Ernst Kuipers must now decide whether or not to accept the recommendation.

Earlier he rejected the health council’s decision to not give booster shots to teenagers, saying they should be given the option if the European Medicines Agency approves.

The health council has also been asked for its views on giving a second booster to people who had the single dose Janssen vaccine and who face difficulties in travelling to countries which demand people have had three shots altogether.

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