Issue 7 2021

25 February 2021

The newsletter on COVID-19-vaccination is an RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment publication with up-to-date information for professionals involved in COVID-19 vaccination.

Progress report on the COVID-19 vaccination campaign

Vaccination against COVID-19 also started in Aruba last week. Vaccination started on Bonaire, St Eustatius, Saba, Curaçao and St Maarten on Monday of this week.

Implementation Guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccination

The latest version of the implementation guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination 2021 is always available online (in Dutch). Section 1.3 outlines the main changes compared to the previous version.

Transport and storage conditions for AstraZeneca vaccine

Based on new information from the manufacturer, the tables for the AstraZeneca vaccine (Tables 5A and 5B) have been updated in the implementation guidelines. Vaccine that has been drawn up into the syringe is now subject to broader guidelines for transport and storage; the same rules now apply as for a punctured vaccine vial. It is still preferable for vaccine in a syringe or in a punctured vaccine vial to used as soon as possible.

AstraZeneca vaccine

Based on new data on the stability of the vaccine, a little more leeway has been given for using the vaccine once it has already been drawn up into the syringe:
The vaccine may be prepared for use and left at room temperature for up to 6 hours in both the punctured vial and the drawn syringe.
Within that time frame, the vaccine also be transported at room temperature on foot, by bicycle or by car, both in the syringe or in the punctured vial.

Third jab not necessary

It is important that the recommended interval between two vaccinations is observed, but even if that interval is shorter or longer, the vaccination does not have to be repeated. This is in line with international advice on this subject. Even after a possible subcutaneous injection if the needle is shorter than recommended, the vaccination does not have to be repeated. This means that a third jab is not currently recommended for any COVID-19 vaccine.

New look for Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine vial

New look Pfizer BioNTech vial

As of this week, the name Comirnaty® appears on the packaging of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, both the packaging and the vaccine vial look slightly different.

The tray will also contain a leaflet in English. 

Medical high-risk groups

The RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment website has a separate page for healthcare professionals presenting information about the medical risk groups that have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This page states which groups are involved and which vaccine they will receive. (Dutch only) 
 

Various webinars available

Would you like to know more about the latest developments in the COVID-19 vaccination strategy, how the AstraZeneca vaccine works, or the protocol for vaccination in GP practices? Then watch the webinar for general practitioners that was organised by MedicalScholing.nl on Wednesday, 17 January 2021.

The livestream posted on Sunday, 14 February 2021 about COVID-19 vaccination specifically aimed at the Muslim community was recorded and is available online. In the livestream, doctors and imams answered questions from a medical and theological perspective.

Upcoming events

COVID-19 webinar good vaccine management

Extra attention will be focused on COVID-19 vaccination in various ways in the next few weeks. (Please note:  this event will be exclusively in Dutch.)

  • Thursday 4 March (evening): webinar on good vaccine management (RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment in conjunction with the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate – IGJ) COVID-19 vaccines are fragile. Good vaccine management is particularly important for these vaccines in order to guarantee their efficacy. This webinar will focus on vaccine storage, distribution and transport. We will also reflect on properties of the vaccines and findings from IGJ inspections. Registration for the webinar is open this week.