New vaccination round for Kingdom announced

Every resident age 12 and older in the Dutch Kingdom, including the Caribbean islands, will have the opportunity to get a booster COVID-19 vaccination as of the second half of this year.

Dutch Minister of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport Ernst Kuipers informed the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Friday of his decision which he took based on the advice of the Dutch Outbreak Management Team Vaccinations (OMT-V).

The first group that will be offered a booster shot are persons with an increased medical risk the group of care personnel that is in close contact with patients, after which everyone else above the age of 12 will be invited. People can get the booster as of three months after the most recent coronavirus vaccination of a COVID-19 infection.

The booster vaccination will take place around the same time in the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) and the Dutch Caribbean countries (Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten) as in the Netherlands.

The same approach will be used for Bonaire, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten whereby first those with increased medical risk and healthcare workers will be invited, followed by the rest of the population age 12 and above, stated Minister Kuipers in his letter.

The approach for St. Eustatius and Saba will be different again this time compared to the rest of the Kingdom. Because of the small size of the population of these two islands, there will be no phased approach of vaccination. The entire population above 12 will simultaneously be offered to get a booster vaccination, as has happened before.

According to Kuipers, the booster is necessary to keep up the protection of severe illness and death caused by COVID-19. “The height of the COVID-19 crisis seems to be behind us, and vaccination has greatly contributed to that,” said the minister.

However, the Dutch government is aware of a possible new COVID-19 surge in the later part of this year. In order to maintain the protection against severe illness and death, to keep healthcare accessible and to avoid social disruption due to high absence of personnel, the OMT-V has advised to start a new vaccination round.

Updated vaccines will be used for the new vaccination round. These updated vaccines will offer better protection than the current vaccines. The OMT-V has advised to use the bivalent Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines for this round. These updated vaccines first have to be approved and registered by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is expected to take place in September.

The Daily Herald.

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