RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment is preparing for implementation of the coronavirus vaccinations. As soon as there is a safe and effective vaccine against the novel coronavirus, it will be quickly and carefully deployed to vaccinate the target groups. The first target groups will be older people aged 60 years and over, people who belong to a medical risk group, and care workers who have direct contact with these groups. Eventually, vaccination will be available to everyone. The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport decided that today on the basis of the advisory opinion issued by the Health Council.
RIVM has considerable experience in the coordination and implementation of vaccination programmes, such as the National Immunisation Programme, the seasonal flu jab and the vaccination against pneumococcal disease. 25 million safety needles have been ordered in recent months. Additional supercooled freezers have also been purchased to store the vaccines that must be kept below -70°C. The necessary preparations also include arranging secure storage locations and setting up transport and distribution, for example. There will also be a national registration system specifically for the COVID-19 vaccination, which is important with a view to registering, monitoring and warning of any possible side effects.
Roles and responsibilities
RIVM and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport are currently in talks with, among others, the Association of Dutch General Practitioners (LHV), the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), company doctors, institutional physicians and hospitals about the roles and responsibilities in administering the vaccinations. Wherever possible, these activities will be aligned with the established and proven structure of other immunisation programmes.