Concerns are growing about an increase in corona infections. On average, 69 people with COVID-19 end up in hospital each day. As expected, this mainly concerns people over 60 years of age, for whom an additional booster dose is available. But older adults rarely show up: Less than a third (29 percent) of those aged 60 to 70 have had the repeated shot.
To reduce the number of hospital admissions among the elderly, a fourth vaccine has been available since March: the second or repeat vaccine. “In January there were still a lot of people wanting injections, but in the months since, the crowds waned,” says Dirk Moore, a spokesperson for GGD Fryslân.
At the GGD injection site in Leeuwarden, they believe the coronavirus pandemic has waned a bit in terms of interest. “Because of the war in Ukraine and the cancellation of measures, people are busy with other things,” Moore says.
In Friesland, they aren’t the only ones with low turnout for a repeat shot. Enthusiasm has been waning everywhere since January. “This is while the Corona patients who come to us are mostly elderly people,” says Leon van den Torn, a pulmonologist at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam.
“These repeated pokes ensure that you get much less sickness from Covid-19, so that hospitalization can be prevented. So it is very important for seniors to get this shot. Not only does seniors help themselves, but they also relieve stress on their healthcare,” Van den Toren says: We have had a shortage of healthcare workers for some time now. If many corona patients enter now, this shortage will increase.”
RIVM reports that the chance of hospitalization for people over 60 years of age with their first booster dose is one and a half times lower if they get a repeat shot. But Renée Cazemier (62) has not yet passed the repetition injection. “At the moment it does not seem necessary.”
Rene is still in doubt about the fourth shot
Public Health Minister Ernst Kuipers understands that people are very tired. “A lot of people think we don’t have a lot of infections. However, that’s going up sharply and the numbers are really high in hospitals.”
According to the National Center for Patient Distribution (LCPS), there are currently 36 patients with the virus in the intensive care unit and 694 in the nursing department. “We can prevent these numbers because of repeated injections. It’s not 100 percent protection, but frequent injections protects 80 percent from serious illness and hospitalization. The need for injections is great.”
Two new Omicron sub-variants have become dominant in the Netherlands since last week. It’s about the BA4 and BA5 variant, which are quite similar. These variants existed for a longer time in Portugal. This led to a mild wave with an increase in injuries and a slight pressure on hospitals. According to the ministry, current vaccines still work well enough, even against new sub-variants.
Minister Kuipers said earlier this month that GGD could vaccinate about 3 million people within six weeks. It is believed that it is also possible to rapidly increase the number of IC beds.
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