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Issue 21, 24 June 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 14 millionth COVID-19 vaccination was administered this week. As of 19 June 2021, people born in 2003 can also schedule an appointment for COVID-19 vaccination. They will be vaccinated by the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) with the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This means that all all Dutch people aged 18 years and older have now had the opportunity to make an appointment for their first COVID-19 vaccination. In the parliamentary letter on 18 June 2021, the Minister underlines the importance of the second vaccination for effective protection. In the next few weeks, each GGD region will continue to work on achieving the highest possible vaccination coverage, as well as homogeneous vaccination coverage and sufficiently high vaccination coverage among specific groups.

People in waiting room after covid-19 vaccination

Since the week of 21 June 2021, asylum seekers born in 1961-2003 who do not have a medical indication are also being vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, as well as asylum seekers aged 12-17 who do have a medical indication. 21 locations are involved in this week’s efforts, half of all asylum seekers’ centres in the Netherlands.

In addition, from 22 June 2021 on, young people aged 12-17 years (born between 1 January 2004 and 30 June 2009 can make an appointment with the GGD for vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Their invitation will be sent by their GP. For that reason, an alert was sent to GPs this week with information on selecting and inviting young people who are eligible to receive the flu jab and young people with Down’s syndrome. Young people aged 12-17 years who live in a residential institution will be vaccinated in their residential facility starting this week. Young people with cancer will also receive an invitation shortly, and can be vaccinated from mid-July on in the Prinses Máxima Centrum in Utrecht. Vulnerable young people with obesity and young people who are eligible for vaccination because they live with a vulnerable household member will receive an invitation at a later point in time. That route is still being developed.

This week, the last GP practices will also be receiving the doses of AstraZeneca that they need to administer the second vaccination to people aged 60-64 years.

Vaccination of people living at home who are not mobile enough to travel

For people living at home who are not mobile enough to travel and were born in 1961 or later, a route will become available in the next few weeks in which an external party can administer the vaccinations in their own home. To bridge the gap, GPs can also vaccinate people from this group themselves. In both cases, this group will be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. GGDs will facilitate GPs in these efforts by offering the option of collecting prefilled syringes from the GGD.

New study on Janssen vaccine

Four academic hospitals will be researching whether it would be useful to administer a second vaccination following a first Janssen vaccination. In this study, employees who have received a Janssen vaccination will receive a second vaccination with the Janssen, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. It is common practice to administer the same vaccine twice, but if different vaccines could be combined, vaccination campaigns would become more flexible, making it possible to accelerate the vaccination process and reduce the impact of supply problems. The first results from this SWITCH study are expected in October 2021. 

New version of syringe and needle combinations

RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment and GGD GHOR Nederland have designed a new version of the poster with the most common syringe and needle combinations for COVID-19 vaccination. In the new version, information has been added about longer needles, the colours have been aligned with the colours used by the GGD, and QR codes have been improved.

Overview possible combination seringes and needles COVID-19 vaccination

Frequently asked questions

Does COVID-19 vaccination work effectively in immunocompromised patients?

Yes, but depending on the degree of immunosuppression, vaccine efficacy will be less. Limited data is available on this specific group of patients, but a number of studies on this topic are currently ongoing. The guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination of immunocompromised patients | LCI guidelines (rivm.nl) (in Dutch) provide background information on current policy. For questions and answers on vaccination for people with immune disorders, see People with impaired immunity (immunocompromised patients) | RIVM.

Can my patient receive a different type of vaccine for the second dose than for the first?

The guiding principle in this phase of the vaccination campaign is that each participant will be administered the same vaccine twice. If a second vaccination has been administered with another brand of vaccine in a specific case, a third vaccination is not necessary. For more information and background about mix-and-match deployment of the vaccines, see COVID-19 vaccination | LCI guidelines (rivm.nl) (in Dutch).

If someone has received 1 vaccine abroad, what follow-up should be given?

In most cases, the vaccination series can be completed in the Netherlands. The vaccine used to complete the series will depend on the vaccine received abroad. For more information, see COVID-19 vaccination | LCI guidelines (rivm.nl) (in Dutch).

Adverse reactions

Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb has posted a new update about reports of possible adverse events following immunisation with COVID-19 vaccines which were reviewed by experts up to and including 20 June 2021. To date, Lareb has received one report of ‘thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome’ (TTS) following a Janssen vaccination. In addition, one person has died of systemic capillary leak syndrome (SCLS) following vaccination with the Janssen vaccine.

Public communication

The Logistics Coordination Centre COVID-19 (LCC) delivers vaccines throughout the Netherlands on a daily basis, and that is a very complex operation. For example, the LCC support team answers questions from healthcare professionals about orders, delivery time and storage conditions.

Video still Vaccinatie programma op dreef

From 24 June 2021, people living in the Netherlands can use the CoronaCheck app to generate a vaccination certificate and gain access to events. From 1 July 2021, the app can also be used to travel abroad. Information about the Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) is available here.

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.