THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government’s medical advisory body said Tuesday that booster shots of coronavirus vaccines should be given “with high priority” to people with seriously compromised immune systems.
The Health Council of the Netherlands also said in its written advice to the government that giving booster shots to the rest of the Dutch population is not currently necessary but said preparations should be put in place to give people a booster shot if it becomes clear that the vaccines’ effectiveness in preventing serious illness is declining.
“While the protection of some COVID-19 vaccines against infection has diminished somewhat over time, protection against serious illness has not,” the council said.
“There is therefore currently hardly any room for improving protection against serious illness and death with a booster,” it added.
The government generally follows the advice of the health council in its coronavirus decision-making.
Some 62% of the Dutch population of 17.5 million people has been fully vaccinated — that amounts to 77% of adults.
Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte is scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday evening to announce new relaxations in the country’s lockdown.
Dutch media report that he is expected to mandate corona passes — showing that a person has been fully vaccinated, has recovered from COVID-19 or has recently tested negative — for entry into venues including bars, restaurants, cinemas and museums. At the same time, Rutte is expected to drop social distancing orders in such venues.
A Dutch hospitality lobby group went to court Tuesday in a bid to force the re-opening of night clubs and discos, arguing that keeping them closed amid wider easing of the government’s coronavirus lockdown measures amounts to illegal discrimination.
With the exception of a brief reopening early in the summer, clubs and discos have been closed in the Netherlands since mid-March 2020. Infection rates spiked shortly after the reopening and the government quickly closed them again.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.