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Vaccination rate may be higher: one injection is enough up to six months after infection | NOW

The Ministry of Health is asking Dutch people who have tested positive for the corona virus in the past six months to make only one vaccination appointment. One vaccine dose would protect these people against the corona virus, coupled with the immunity built up by the recent infection, writes outgoing minister Hugo de Jonge in a letter to Parliament.

The policy may lead to an acceleration of the vaccination schedule. That is still being investigated, the ministry responds to questions from

At the beginning of March, experts from the Health Council already advised the ministry that one shot is sufficient for recently tested positive people. The ministry is therefore following that advice. How this plan will be implemented in practice, or whether people will be asked about a possible recent infection when making a vaccination appointment, is still being investigated.

Dutch people who have undergone a corona infection in the past six months and have already received one vaccine dose are requested to cancel it in order to avoid wastage of vaccines.

Vulnerable people, for example people whose immune system has been compromised, are excluded from the advice. After a recent infection, they must still receive two injections to be fully protected against the corona virus. Dutch people who tested positive more than six months ago must also follow the regular schedule of two injections appointments.

Advice may lead to an acceleration of the vaccination schedule

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The consequence of just one shot for recently tested positive people seems great. After all, over 900,000 positive tests were taken in the past six months, three quarters of the total number of tests in the Netherlands (1.2 million). On paper, more than 900,000 vaccine doses, which were normally intended for a second shot, could suddenly serve a different purpose.

However, that number is not correct, explains spokesman Charlotte Menten of the RIVM vaccination program. “You also need to know how old these people are, whether their turn is already due and when they have tested positive. After all, the injection appointment must also be able to follow within six months after the corona test.”

Since October, tens of thousands of elderly people have tested positive for the corona virus. Some of them may therefore only need one injection. The more groups that are vaccinated, the larger the group that will suddenly only need one shot. This can lead to a surplus of vaccines, so that other groups can be vaccinated more quickly. RIVM is currently investigating to what extent there will be an acceleration of vaccination.

Positive test result does not need to be shown

Recently positively tested Dutch people whose turn it is according to the vaccination schedule, do not have to show the positive test result when scheduling their one injection appointment. This cannot be demanded of them, due to privacy concerns and legal obstacles, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Health.

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The recently tested positive Dutch can receive all types of vaccines, the spokesperson emphasizes when asked. Anyone who has not yet been infected would only be protected after one injection with the vaccine from pharmaceutical company Janssen.

Although the percentage of Dutch nationals who have been fully vaccinated may rise faster than expected as a result, this will not lead to faster easing, says the RIVM. “Our calculation models take into account changes in the vaccination schedule, including the few injections for recently infected people,” said a spokesman. “You can only relax when the infection pressure decreases.”

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