There will not be a new round of repeat vaccinations against COVID-19 in spring 2023. This is due to the current status of the pandemic, the protection built up by now (from vaccinations, previous SARS-CoV-2 infection(s), or a combination of both), and the Omicron variant currently circulating in the Netherlands, which is less likely to cause serious illness. Some people who are in medical high-risk groups may still be advised to get an additional repeat vaccination against COVID-19. For patients in these groups, their medical specialist can refer them to the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) for vaccination.

Everyone aged 12 years and older who has not yet had the basic series of COVID-19 vaccinations and/or the repeat vaccination can still be vaccinated.
Which COVID-19 vaccine do I need and how can I get one?

See also

Dutch advice to prevent COVID-19;  Preventing respiratory infections
RIVM webpage Respiratory Infections

FAQ about the repeat vaccination against COVID-19

For some people in medical high-risk groups, COVID-19 could still have serious consequences, such as hospital admission or death. Their treating medical specialist will refer them for an additional repeat vaccination.

Everyone aged 12 years and older who completed the basic series of COVID-19 vaccinations can get the repeat vaccination. 

This is possible from 3 months after the most recent COVID-19 vaccination or if it has been 3 months since you had a possible SARS-CoV-2 infection.
 

No, if you received a repeat vaccination after 19 September 2022, you do not need another one. On 24 February 2023, the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) issued an advisory opinion stating that a round of repeat vaccinations in spring 2023 is not necessary for the general population or for specific risk groups.

 

The mRNA vaccine (Pfizer) will be used for the basic series of COVID-19 vaccinations. The updated mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) will be used for the repeat vaccination.

The OMT-V did not express any preference for the bivalent vaccine against Omicron BA.4/5 or Omicron BA.1. Both vaccines offer protection against more coronavirus variants. Supplies of both vaccines are available in the Netherlands. The updated BA.1 vaccines currently in stock are not available in sufficient quantities to carry out a possible autumn round of vaccinations with only those vaccines. Moreover, these vaccines can only be used until October 2023. The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) has decided to switch to BA.4/5 vaccines for the repeat vaccination from now on.

We do not know yet. That depends on whether new variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 emerge, whether any new variants differ significantly from the Omicron variant, and how virulent those new variants are. 

No, that is not necessary if you have had a repeat vaccination against COVID-19 since 19 September 2022. Both updated mRNA vaccines offer protection against more coronavirus variants, including the Omicron variant currently circulating in the Netherlands. The Omicron BA.1 and BA.4/5 variants differ less from each other than earlier variants.

Everyone aged 12 years and older can be vaccinated against COVID-19.

  • Are you 12 years old? You can only make an appointment by phone: call 0800-7070
  • Everyone older than 12 years can make an appointment online at www.planjeprik.nl, or by phone.  See where to get a walk-in vaccination without an appointment: www.prikkenzonderafspraak.nl

You can get the repeat vaccination from 3 months after the most recent COVID-19 vaccination or if it has been 3 months since you had a possible SARS-CoV-2 infection. If you have had a repeat vaccination against COVID-19 since 19 September 2022, you do not need another COVID-19 vaccination.

The updated mRNA vaccines against COVID-19, made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, have been adapted to offer better protection against multiple variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The updated vaccines offer protection against the original Wuhan strain of the virus and against the current Omicron variant. For that reason, these are known as bivalent COVID-19 vaccines. After a repeat vaccination against COVID-19 with an updated vaccine, you are expected to regain more effective protection against serious illness, hospital admission and mild infection with an Omicron variant.

We do not know yet. That depends on whether new variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 emerge, whether any new variants differ significantly from the Omicron variant, and how virulent those new variants are.  

Experts have not identified any serious safety concerns for these updated vaccines. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorised the vaccines for use from 12 September 2022. The bivalent vaccines work in the same way as the original mRNA vaccines. The only change is that the vaccine now contains two different mRNA codes. The side-effects of the new vaccines are similar to the side-effects after a booster vaccination with the original mRNA vaccines: a sore arm, tiredness, a low-grade fever, one day of feeling poorly. All these side-effects have a short duration.

The repeat vaccination with the updated bivalent vaccines is especially effective in protecting vulnerable people against severe illness, hospital admission or death. The (VASCO) study showed that a repeat vaccination is relatively less effective in preventing infection (31% in people aged 18-59 and 14% in people aged 60-85). It is more effective in protecting people aged 60 and older against hospital admission. The risk after repeat vaccination was lower than for people in the same age group who had not had the repeat vaccination (but had received at least one COVID-19 vaccination). A combination of vaccination and infection (hybrid immunity) offers the most effective protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has authorised the updated vaccines for the European market for people aged 12 years and older, as a repeat vaccination following a completed basic series of COVID-19 vaccinations. Children aged 5-11 years in medical high-risk groups can receive an age-appropriate dose as a repeat vaccination. The original COVID-19 vaccines have been authorised for use as primary vaccinations and still offer effective protection against serious illness.

Yes, the immune system often responds more strongly if there is a longer time between two vaccinations. For this reason, there is an interval between the vaccinations.

It is advisable to observe an interval of at least 3 months between the last COVID-19 vaccination in the basic series and the next vaccination.

A repeat vaccination against COVID-19 helps your body produce many antibodies within a short time frame. This is necessary, because the immune response that you built up from previous COVID-19 vaccinations (including the basic series) is less likely to recognise the Omicron variant. This makes it easier for Omicron to evade your immune system. 
A repeat vaccination gives you high levels of antibodies against Omicron, so your immune system can more effectively recognise Omicron and protect you against severe illness. This also applies if you have previously had a SARS-CoV-2 infection involving Omicron.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has authorised the use of the Janssen vaccine for booster vaccinations. People in the Netherlands who cannot get a repeat vaccination with an mRNA vaccine for medical reasons, or do not want an mRNA vaccine as a repeat vaccination, can make an appointment for a repeat vaccination with Janssen. To do so, call: 0800-1295.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recently also authorised the use of the Novavax vaccine for repeat vaccination. People in the Netherlands who cannot get a repeat vaccination with an mRNA vaccine for medical reasons, or do not want an mRNA vaccine as a repeat vaccination, can make an appointment for a repeat vaccination with Novavax. To do so, call: 0800-0174

Since an mRNA vaccine provides better protection, the preference is to use an mRNA vaccine as a repeat vaccination if non-medical reasons are involved. In addition, an mRNA vaccine is preferable, because the Janssen vaccine can cause a very rare but serious side-effect known as TTS. Informed consent will be used at the vaccination centre to ensure that people can make a decision after carefully considering the available information.

Both of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) can be used for a repeat vaccination. It does not matter which vaccine was used for previous vaccinations: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Janssen.

Yes, you can get a repeat vaccination even if you already had COVID-19 and have completed the basic series and already had a previous booster or repeat vaccination against COVID-19. You can get a repeat vaccination from 3 months after the most recent COVID-19 vaccination or if it has been 3 months since you had a possible SARS-CoV-2 infection (after your last vaccination). COVID-19 vaccination offers more effective protection against severe illness resulting from a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Yes. If you had COVID-19, and then had one vaccination, you completed the basic series of COVID-19 vaccinations. In that case, you can get a repeat vaccination 3 months after that one vaccination. 

Only if you had Janssen, which is a single-dose vaccine. If you had COVID-19 after your first vaccination with one of the other vaccines, you still need to get a second vaccination. That second vaccination completes the basic series of COVID-19 vaccinations. After that, you need to wait at least 3 months before getting a repeat vaccination. This applies to everyone aged 12 years and older.

The repeat vaccination against COVID-19 is effective 7 days after vaccination.

Side-effects may occur after a repeat vaccination against COVID-19, just the same as after previous COVID-19 vaccinations or other vaccinations. Side-effects such as fever, headache and tiredness occur after vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines in a significant proportion of those who are vaccinated. The Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb monitors side-effects and publishes the data on its website. 

Yes, the 15-minute waiting period (observation time) is recommended by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the WHO Strategic Advisory Group on Immunization (SAGE) for all COVID-19 vaccines, and that includes the repeat vaccination. The waiting period is also specified in the package leaflets for the vaccines.

If you are pregnant, you can still get the repeat vaccination against COVID-19. As a pregnant woman, you do have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. This can have consequences for you and your child. The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) have been found to be safe for pregnant women, and the repeat vaccination is recommended. If you received a repeat vaccination after 19 September 2022, you do not need another one.

More information about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy.

Please contact your GP. The GP may decide to give you a referral to an allergist, depending on the nature of the reaction that occurred during your last vaccination. The GP may also conclude that you can simply get a repeat vaccination from the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs). 
If you are referred to an allergist, that specialist will assess whether you can get a repeat vaccination and if so, where: in hospital or from the GGD.