Issue 34, 17 November 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

Booster vaccination

The first invitation letters for the COVID-19 booster vaccination will be sent by RIVM from 17 November 2021 on. The booster campaign will start with people aged 80 years and older who can travel to a vaccination site, adult residents of care institutions, and care workers who have direct contact with patients. The next group to receive invitations will be people aged 60 to 80 years, starting with the oldest in that group.

Vaccinations over time

Approximately 24 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the Netherlands by now. This does not yet include the third doses for people with severely impaired immunity.

European Medicines Agency (EMA)

EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) has concluded that Spikevax (Moderna) can be used for a booster dose in people aged 18 years and above. Earlier this month, it concluded that Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech) can be used for the booster vaccination.

Advisory reports of the Health Council

The Health Council of the Netherlands has advised the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) to start offering a booster vaccination to people aged 60 years and older and to people living in residential care facilities.

Ministerial decree on vaccination strategy

The effectiveness of all four COVID-19 vaccines used in the Netherlands is currently still high. The vaccines offer 94% protection against hospital admission and 97% against ICU admission, even in cases involving the Delta variant. Although no significant decrease in protection against serious illness or hospital admission has been observed in the Netherlands at this time, several international studies have shown a slight decrease in vaccine effectiveness in protecting the very elderly from hospital admission. As a precautionary measure, following the advisory opinion of the Health Council, Minister De Jonge has therefore decided to offer a booster dose of the vaccine, starting with the most vulnerable groups. A booster dose will also be offered to care workers and support staff who have contact with patients and clients.

See the Parliamentary letter on the current situation regarding COVID-19 (from page 84, 2 November 2021).

See the Parliamentary letter on accelerating the booster vaccination (12 November 2021).

Frequently asked questions

The vaccination campaign for seasonal flu has started. About 6 million people living in the Netherlands have received an invitation to get the flu jab. Click here for answers to frequently asked questions about the combination of the flu jab, pneumococcal vaccination and COVID-19 vaccination.

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 all major changes compared to the previous version; more minor interim changes are listed under Version Management (at the end of the document).

This update focuses mainly on the changes regarding the booster vaccination.

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 7 November 2021.

Public communication

RIVM publication: vaccination status in hospitals

The results of the study on effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination against hospital and ICU admission in the Netherlands have been published on the RIVM website.

RIVM wins Maritime KVNR Shipping Award 2021

RIVM received the award for the essential role it has played in deploying the Dutch COVID-19 vaccination programme for seafarers working on Dutch ships. The first vaccination was administered in June 2021, making the Netherlands the only country worldwide to offer a vaccination programme tailored to seafarers. More information


Upcoming events

Webinar for professionals

On 17 November 2021 at 20:00, a national live broadcast for all healthcare professionals will be provided by, facilitated by RIVM, the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG), the Dutch Paediatrics Society (NVK), GGD-GHOR and the Dutch College of General Practitioners (NHG). An average of 18,000 colleagues per session joined in for the last 13 webinars. The broadcast on 17 November will cover such difficult topics such as the booster vaccination policy, vaccinations for children (5-12 years) and the increase in mental health problems among young people due to the COVID pandemic.

Do you work in healthcare? Then sign up for free. The webinar is accredited. After signing up, you can post a question or respond to questions from colleagues. We will tailor the webinar content to the questions submitted by healthcare professionals wherever possible.                              

Register for the webinar via this link.


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

The newsletter is also available in Dutch.

For questions and/or comments about this newsletter, healthcare professionals can send a message to

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