The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) has decided to temporarily stop vaccinating with the COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca, effective immediately. This decision was reached following the advice of the Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board (CBG-MEB) to temporarily suspend administration of the vaccine, as a precaution and pending further research. As a precautionary measure, it has been decided not to vaccinate with AstraZeneca for the next two weeks (until Sunday 28 March).
Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) and general practitioners have been informed of the decision by RIVM. All appointments for vaccination with AstraZeneca within the next two weeks will be cancelled. People will be informed by the GGD or their GP. The precautionary measure does not affect scheduled vaccinations with BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Medicines Evaluation Board advises temporary hold as a precaution
The immediate reason for the advice of the Medicines Evaluation Board (CBG-MEB) is new information that became available this weekend. It involves different symptoms than the previously known cases of blood clots after vaccination, on which the CBG-MEB had based its decisions before the weekend. The CBG-MEB emphasises that no causal link has been found between the vaccine and the reports from Norway and Denmark at this time. The EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) is currently conducting further investigations of all reports of thrombosis and other conditions related to blood clotting following vaccination with AstraZeneca.
Rollout of AstraZeneca in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been rolled out via the GP for people aged 60-64, people with Down’s syndrome, and people with morbid obesity, and via GGDs for patients in mental healthcare institutions and for employees working in long-term care. GGDs and general practitioners administer the vaccinations. Vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine started on 12 February. The interval between the first and second dose is 12 weeks.