Hugo de Jonge, the Netherlands’ health minister, said the country could be preparing to order another three COVID-19 booster shots—meaning that a total of up to six doses of vaccines may be administered in the coming years.
De Jonge told members of Parliament that the country’s cabinet is assuming there will be two extra COVID-19 vaccine doses for 2022 and another for 2023.
“The cabinet is therefore opting to be on the safe side,” de Jonge said, reported local media.
About 35 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have already been ordered for 2022 and 2023, his office said. About 10.5 million Moderna doses, 840,000 doses of Novax, and 10,000 doses of Valneva—if it is approved by the European Union drug regulator for use—have also been ordered for next year and the following year.
“Certainly because only half of a regular vaccine is needed for a booster dose of Moderna, we now have sufficient vaccines for the current booster campaign and there is ample basis for possible extra booster rounds in the second quarter and the autumn of 2022 and in 2023,” de Jonge wrote in a letter to Parliament, according to a translation.
The Dutch Cabinet is aiming for the highest possible vaccination rate with the latest purchases, the health minister said.
Over 70 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.
So far, boosters for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are being administered across the Netherlands. With de Jonge’s suggestion, it means that six total doses could be given by the end of 2022.
About 3 million booster shots have been used in the Netherlands. According to public statements, the government’s goal is to give adults access to booster shots before Feb. 1
Earlier this month, the Netherlands returned to lockdown mode in a bid to curb COVID-19 infections spurred by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, including a new nationwide order that was introduced by the Dutch government.
Several studies and some U.S. officials have suggested the Omicron variant—while highly contagious—presents less severe disease than the Delta variant. The hospitalization rate in the United States is also comparatively lower now than during previous COVID-19 surges, said Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky on Wednesday.
Nonetheless, Dutch schools, universities, and all non-essential stores, bars, and restaurants in the Netherlands will be closed until Jan. 14, officials said at the time. Residents only will be permitted two visitors except for Christmas and New Year’s, when four will be allowed.
The lockdown orders and vaccine mandates sparked significant protests earlier this month, with thousands of people taking to the streets.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.