The safety of the COVID-19 vaccines is assessed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and in the Netherlands also by the Medicines Evaluation Board (CBG-MEB). Even after vaccines are approved, they are monitored. More information about vaccine safety is available on

Risk of getting COVID-19 after vaccination

After vaccination, you may still get COVID-19. There is a much lower risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, because you are better protected due to vaccination. That is why it is important to get the basic series of vaccinations and then a repeat vaccination

Contagiousness after vaccination

You can still become infected with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 after you have been vaccinated. Vaccination protects against severe illness caused by the coronavirus. Various studies have been published showing that vaccination also reduces transmission of the virus from one person to another(see also the VASCO study), but does not prevent transmission entirely. This applies to the Alpha, Delta and Omicron variants. 

Coronavirus measures still needed after vaccination?

After vaccination, you can still get COVID-19, and you would still be able to transmit the virus to others. For that reason, it is important to follow the basic advice to prevent COVID-19, even after vaccination.

Vaccine protection against variants of the virus

It is normal for a virus to change. Different variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 have been found all over the world. Since there are only minimal differences between the variants and the original virus, the vaccine will not immediately become ineffective. Even if a vaccine is slightly less effective against a variant, it can still offer protection against severe illness and death.

When variants of the virus occur, they will be subjected to research at the national and international levels to determine how they respond to the vaccines. RIVM is also conducting research on variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Read more about that research: Variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines

RIVM monitors how effective COVID-19 vaccines are in protecting against severe illness and hospital admission due to COVID-19. Effectiveness is monitored by analysing data from different registries and by conducting specific research:

Number of COVID-19 vaccinations  

When do I get two vaccinations?

Vaccination against COVID-19 consists of a basic series followed by 1 or more repeat vaccinations. The basic series can consist of 1, 2 or 3 vaccine doses. How many doses are needed will depend on:

  • Which vaccine you received
  • Whether you already had a SARS-CoV-2 infection before the first vaccination
  • Whether you have severely impaired immunity

When do I get the repeat vaccination?

  • If you completed the basic series and are 12 years or older, you can get the repeat vaccination. Your last COVID-19 vaccination or possible SARS-CoV-2 infection must have been at least 3 months ago. If you had a repeat vaccination after 19 September 2022, you do not need another COVID-19 vaccination now.
  • Children aged 5–11 years in medical high-risk groups can get the repeat vaccination.

I am not sure if I had COVID-19. What is the recommendation? 

If you are not sure whether you had COVID-19, and you did not use a self-test, then it is not certain that you had COVID-19. In that case, the recommendation is to get two vaccinations. Three months after your last vaccination, you can get a repeat vaccination.

Influence of vaccination on COVID-19 testing

The vaccination does not affect the COVID-19 tests – such as the PCR test and the rapid antigen test – used to detect infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, if a COVID-19 test is positive, it is not because of the vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination in combination with other vaccinations

You can receive several different vaccinations within a short time period. Our immune system can respond to multiple pathogens or vaccines at the same time.