If all goes well, the first people in the Netherlands will be vaccinated against COVID-19 in early January. The logistics operation aims to start vaccination in the week of 4 January 2021. RIVM, the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), general practitioners and doctors in nursing homes and institutions will be working in close cooperation in this respect.

The European Medicines Agency announced yesterday that vaccine developers BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna have officially applied for marketing authorisation. This means that the testing phase of these vaccines has been completed. The EMA will now assess the vaccines in close consultation with the Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB) based on safety, quality and effectiveness, among other aspects. If this process is successful, the EMA expects to give its opinion on the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine by 29 December at the latest.

Older people, vulnerable people and care workers

The plan is to vaccinate older people, vulnerable people and care workers first. The EMA assessment will have to determine whether the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is suitable for these target groups. If that is not the case, then other groups will be identified. RIVM is developing various scenarios for this in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) and implementing parties. One of the guiding principles in that process is to minimise wastage of the scarce supply of vaccines.