First healthcare workers receive second dose of coronavirus vaccine
After news of delays of coronavirus vaccines, the Netherlands had some good vaccine news on Wednesday as the first healthcare workers received their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Sanne Elkadiri receives second coronavirus vaccine dose
Three weeks after the Netherlands’ first coronavirus vaccinations took place on January 6, the first round of healthcare workers have received the second dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday. Again, 39-year-old Sanne Elkadiri was the first to receive the second dose.
Many have welcomed this development after news that the Netherlands has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, and concern about the imminent delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The vaccine is expected to be approved by the EMA this week, but the pharmaceutical company has reduced the number of doses the EU will receive in the first delivery to only 31 million doses (60 percent less than expected).
AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccine deliveries
The news has not only led to conflict between Brussels - who had signed a contract worth 750 million euros for 300 million vaccine doses - and the British pharmaceutical company, but also means that the Dutch vaccination plan will be further delayed. On Monday, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that he expected a delay of several months: “We now have to look at the order in which we can vaccinate; which groups come first. But it also really means something for the pace.” De Jonge remains optimistic that everyone in the Netherlands will be vaccinated by autumn.
In spite of the AstraZeneca delay, the Netherlands will continue to be able to vaccinate people throughout the spring. The country is expecting to receive around 7,5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine before the summer, and a further 1,5 million doses from Moderna. These deliveries alone will mean 4,5 million people in the Netherlands can be vaccinated.
The spread of coronavirus mutations in the Netherlands
The weekly update published by the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) on Tuesday reported that, while the number of coronavirus infections, hospital admissions, and deaths continued the fall, the rate at which they were falling was slowing.
Furthermore, the highly contagious British variant of the virus is gaining ground in the Netherlands: 8,6 percent of positive tests between January 4 and January 10 were identified as the new mutation, and RIVM predictions suggest that last week (January 20 to January 26), a third of infections were a result of the new mutation.
And now, the first local outbreak of the South African mutation has been reported. Up Until Tuesday, 14 cases of this variant had been reported in the Netherlands. But an investigation into a recent coronavirus outbreak at a physiotherapy centre in Gorinchem (located between Rotterdam and Den Bosch), at least 18 infections were identified as the South African variant.