The Netherlands to resume AstraZeneca vaccinations following EMA judgement
On Thursday evening, the Dutch government and the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) announced that the Netherlands would continue to use the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, with vaccinations resuming next week.
The Netherlands resumes use of AstraZeneca vaccine
The decision comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Thursday that, following extensive investigations into the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, no link could be found between thrombosis and the jab. However, EMA director Emer Cooke said a link between the reports of blood clotting and the vaccine could not be completely ruled out, but Cooke reiterated EMA’s stance on the issue from the start: that the advantages of using the vaccine outweigh the potential disadvantages.
Following the EMA’s ruling, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced the Netherlands would resume vaccinations next week, but still defended the government’s decision last weekend to temporarily halt all AstraZeneca vaccinations as a precaution. “If we had said [on Sunday] that we don’t think the risks are that high...and so, for now, we will continue with AstraZeneca...it could have undermined the public’s confidence in vaccinations,” De Jonge told the press.
This decision means that all previously cancelled vaccination appointments will be rescheduled. The GGD will be reaching out to members of the public to schedule an appointment this weekend. While De Jonge hopes vaccinations will resume on Monday, a spokesperson for the GGD said she only expects the first appointments to take place on Wednesday.
EMA and WHO say vaccine's benefits outweigh the risks
The government’s decision was met with much criticism this week, as experts worried the delay would lead to an increase in coronavirus infections amongst people who should have been vaccinated. Many people also pointed out that the United Kingdom had carried out millions of vaccinations with AstraZeneca and hadn’t reported any concerns about the safety of the jab.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation recommended that countries continue to carry out AstraZeneca vaccinations, seconding the EMA’s view that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. Since the EMA’s verdict was announced, a number of other European countries have also decided to resume vaccinations.