What effect has the vaccination campaign had on coronavirus in the Netherlands?
It’s been almost four months to the day since the Netherlands started its vaccination campaign against coronavirus. Since then, over 5,6 million injections have taken place - but what does this progress mean for coronavirus in the Netherlands?
Over one million people fully vaccinated against coronavirus
On May 2, 3,2 million people had received their first jab, while 1,2 million people were already fully immunised against COVID-19. Most of the people who are already fully vaccinated are healthcare workers or people over the age of 70, and data from the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) suggests that more than three-quarters of people over the age of 70 have received at least one jab, and almost a third has received both doses.
In addition to this, according to data from the Dutch blood bank Sanquin, approximately 32 percent of the population of the Netherlands have coronavirus antibodies in their blood - a significant increase from the 13,3 percent recorded at the end of January.
Effect of vaccinations on hospitals in the Netherlands
These figures have significant consequences for coronavirus hospitalisations in the Netherlands: while Dutch hospitals and intensive care units are still full of coronavirus patients, staff do notice the effects of the national vaccination campaign.
Firstly, even with 2.613 hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients on May 4, the mortality of these patients has decreased substantially since the start of the year. In intensive care, the risk of death fell from 27 percent on January 1 to 20 percent on April 1.
In addition to this, the age of hospital patients has lowered. In January, 27,5 percent of patients were over the age of 80, but at the start of April this figure had fallen to 15 percent. Instead, the RIVM notes a sharp increase in the number of patients between the ages of 30 and 70 (43 percent in January / February to 56 percent in March / April)
Is Hugo de Jonge's July goal achievable?
While the decrease in the number of elderly patients can be attributed to the success of the vaccination campaign, virologist and member of the Outbreak Management Team, Marion Koopmans, would like to investigate the sudden rise in the number of younger patients, as she wonders whether it might be a result of the spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants.
The RIVM also notes that while the success of the vaccination campaign is clear, there is much progress yet to be made. Together with the Ministry of Health, they argue that the number of vaccinations carried out every day has to increase if Hugo de Jonge hopes to achieve his goal of having everyone at least partially vaccinated by the beginning of July.
The Dutch government predicts a vaccination turnout of 85 percent. Keeping this figure in mind, in order to (partially) vaccinate 12 million adults by early July, at least eight million injections need to take place over the next two months.