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10 May 2021

The newsletter on COVID-19-vaccination is an RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment  publication with up-to-date information for professionals involved in COVID-19 vaccination.

Progress report on the COVID-19 vaccination campaign

The first people born in 1962 will be receiving an invitation for a COVID-19 vaccination this week. They will be vaccinated by the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) with the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

People with a medical condition who are eligible for an annual seasonal flu vaccination will be invited for COVID-19 vaccination in phases over the next few weeks, starting on Thursday, 6 May. They will also be vaccinated by the GGD with the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. See our webpage on medical risk groups and high-risk groups for more information.

Frequently asked questions

My patient has had a severe allergic reaction to the influenza vaccine. Can this patient receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Anaphylactic reaction after another vaccine, medicine, wasp sting, bee sting or food product is not a contraindication, but it is a reason to implement a longer observation period of 30 minutes after vaccination. Do NOT give the patient an antihistamine as a preventive measure, as this will mask an incipient anaphylactic reaction. See also: https://lci.rivm.nl/richtlijnen/covid-19-vaccinatie#4-6-geen-contra-indicaties.

Can I contact RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment to arrange a different vaccine for my patient?

No, that is not possible. The government assesses which vaccine is suitable for a specific target group based on national and international recommendations. Since we want to vaccinate as many people as possible for public health reasons, it is unfortunately not possible to arrange exceptions to the vaccination strategy on an individual basis, or to request a different vaccine. See also: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/coronavirus-vaccinatie/vraag-en-antwoord/kan-ik-zelf-kiezen-voor-een-bepaald-soort-coronavaccin.

Can my patient who is pregnant be vaccinated? When can this take place?

It is now recommended that pregnant women be routinely vaccinated, when invited, with one of the two mRNA vaccines. Pregnant women who have morbid obesity or another medical indication (flu vaccination policy) will be invited via their GP to receive an mRNA vaccination from the GGD. Pregnant care providers who are in the groups that are now being invited are eligible to receive an mRNA vaccine from the GGD or in hospitals. The remaining pregnant women will be invited to receive an mRNA vaccination from the GGD, in order by age (from old to young) according to the schedule. See also: https://lci.rivm.nl/richtlijnen/covid-19-vaccinatie#4-2-relatieve-contra-indicaties.

More information on COVID-19 vaccination in the context of pregnancy can be found in the position statement posted by the Dutch Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG).

Updated implementation guidelines on 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).

The LCI guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination of immunocompromised patients (in Dutch) have also been updated.

Vaccination certificates

The Dutch government is preparing for the possible use of vaccination certificates. This includes national application as well as use in an international context (Digital Green Certificate, DGC). The Minister has identified three prerequisites for any use of vaccination certificates: it must be medically sound, it must be technically feasible, and the required legal principles must be addressed properly. The Minister expects that the government will be able to reach a decision on introducing vaccination certificates in the Netherlands in early June, based on anticipated advice from the Health Council of the Netherlands and the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), and the completion of technical and legal preparations. This assumes that European decision-making processes regarding the DGC will be finalised in June. For more information, see the full text of the letter to Parliament.

Vaccination side-effects

In its biweekly report, Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb stated that the centre had received a total of 41,746 reports by 25 April, involving 243,755 possible adverse reactions. Most of the reported symptoms are in line with adverse reactions that were already known: headache (27,259), feeling unwell (26,454), muscle pain (25,713), tiredness (24,327), chills (23,783), fever (17,738), joint pain (13,785) and nausea (13,388). Reactions at the injection site, such as pain (17,438), swelling (6,595) and heat (6,321) were also frequently reported. Read more about thrombosis, allergic reactions and deaths in the biweekly report.

Communication resources for various targets groups

To help everyone in the Netherlands make a choice about COVID-19 vaccination, the national government has created communication resources for specific target groups. This overview lists the available resources.

editors

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

For questions and/or comments about this newsletter, healthcare professionals can send a message to vaccin-covid@rivm.nl.

Private citizens can call the public information number 0800 - 1351 with their questions.