RIVM: It will take at least a year to roll out coronavirus vaccine nationally
Speaking to NOS, Hans van Vliet, manager of the National Immunisation Programme at the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), attempted to curb the public’s excitement and expectation, saying it would take at least a year to vaccinate everyone in the Netherlands against coronavirus.
Vaccinating the Netherlands against coronavirus
Pfizer and BioNTech’s announcement on Monday that their coronavirus vaccine was proving to be 90 percent effective was met with much relief. It is widely accepted that the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions will be the first to be vaccinated, and while it is possible that the first doses of the vaccine will be delivered to the Netherlands in December, vaccinating the whole country is expected to take a while.
Therefore, while Van Vliet says the country has made countless preparations for vaccinating the whole population, “We are not quite ready yet." He made it clear that, while the news was significant, the Netherlands would not be returning to normal any time soon: “We will certainly be busy with vaccinations all year round.”
On Thursday, Ernst Kuipers took similar steps to abate expectations. On the TV show Op1, the chairman of the National Acute Care Network (LNAZ) said it was important to stay realistic: “In the spirit of Dutch honesty, it is only a press release without all the real data... with interim results from one study... it is fantastic news, but still.”
The vaccine's effect on coronavirus measures
While many across the world have started to regain hope of life returning to normal in the not too distant future thanks to the vaccine, on Wednesday Health Minister Hugo de Jonge told the AD that, seeing as it could take months for the vaccine to be rolled out nationally, “Certain rules may apply longer for people who haven’t been vaccinated.”
De Jonge noted that, if the future vaccine is particularly effective in protecting the elderly and the vulnerable, then it would likely be possible to relax a number of measures for the younger generations, who are generally less sensitive to the virus.
Speaking to RTLNieuws, the Dutch government said the country would be ready to start vaccinating people as soon as the units arrive in December: “Everything is ready...vaccinations can start immediately.” The Ministry of Health plans to publish the national vaccination strategy later this month.
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