22 April 2021

The newsletter on COVID-19-vaccination is an RIVM publication with up-to-date information for professionals involved in COVID-19 vaccination.

Progress report on the COVID-19 vaccination campaign

As advised by the Health Council of the Netherlands, priority COVID-19 vaccination will be offered to young people born in 2003, 2004 and 2005 who are in a medical high-risk group. The first young people in this group will soon be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

In addition, people born in 1953 and 1954 will receive an invitation this week to be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at a vaccination site operated by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs). People born in 1955 will receive their invitation next week. 

Starting in the first week of May, people under 60 who are at risk for medical reasons, i.e. the group eligible for the seasonal flu jab, will be invited for COVID-19 vaccination by their GP. They can then make an appointment with the GGD to be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.  

On Wednesday, the Netherlands started vaccinating with the COVID-19 vaccine made by Janssen (see below). The Janssen vaccine will initially be used for hospital workers who have direct contact with patients and for employees and clients in mental healthcare institutions. The first vaccination with the Janssen vaccine was administered in Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in Leiden.

Janssen vaccine

It is probable that there is a link between the Janssen vaccine and the very rare combination of blood clot formation and a low blood platelet count. This was the conclusion reached by the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Tuesday. This side-effect was also seen after vaccination with Vaxzevria® (the AstraZeneca vaccine); an exact cause is not yet known.

This particular combination of symptoms, also described as TTS (Thrombosis with Thrombocytopaenia Syndrome), could possibly be explained by an immune system response. The combination of symptoms will now also be included in the package leaflet and product information for the Janssen vaccine as a very rare side-effect. For more information in Dutch, see the explanation provided by the Medicines Evaluation Board (CBG-MEB).  

So few cases of this very rare side-effect have been reported so far that there is no reason at this time to consider restricting deployment to specific target groups. The Minister has decided to make the Janssen vaccine available for use as of today, without additional age limits.

Updated implementation guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination

The implementation guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination 2021 have been updated. The latest version of the implementation guidelines is always available online (in Dutch). Section 1.3 outlines the main changes compared to the previous version; more minor interim changes are listed under Version Management (at the end of the document).

Public communication

The first vaccination with the Janssen vaccine was administered in Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, the national museum of the history of science and medicine, and the video was posted online.

People who want to know more about vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine (Vaxzevria®) can find the latest information here.

The MyRIVM vaccinations website shows which COVID-19 vaccine you received and when. This is not a vaccination certificate. Read more about the personal vaccination overview.



Editors: Vaccination implementation, National Coordination Centre for Communicable Diseases Control (LCI).

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