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Dutch Health Council recommends second Covid booster for elderly, other risk groups

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Four risk groups must be offered a second booster shot against the coronavirus in the short term – people aged 70 and older, adults with Down syndrome, adults with a severe immune disorder, and residents of nursing homes. The Health Council gave this advice on Friday.

The Health Council takes into account that the relaxation of coronavirus measures will lead to “a short term increase in the number of infections.” People from these vulnerable groups can become seriously ill and may die. That is why they should already be able to get a second booster shot, according to the Council.

Due to their medical risks, the four groups were also the first to receive the extra shot last fall. Because they were first to get that vaccination, the protection of that booster will by now also be less than for others.

The Health Council advised giving the four groups an mRNA vaccine. These are the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

For other adults, a second booster is not necessary at this time. The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is “less sickening,” and the number of infections will likely fall. “The expected health gains from a second booster vaccination for the general population are therefore small,” according to the Health Council.

The Health Council will again look at the situation in March. It may then be necessary to also give other groups of people under 70 a second booster. 

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