May 26, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Flu vaccine in one arm, coronavirus vaccine in the other.  This is possible, so why do we have to make two different agreements?

Flu vaccine in one arm, coronavirus vaccine in the other. This is possible, so why do we have to make two different agreements?

You still can’t get the flu shot and the coronavirus vaccine at the same time. This makes it unnecessarily difficult for people over 60 and people in a high-risk group, according to virologist Bert Nesters (UMCG) and Nordic GPs.

Bert Nesters is 65 years old and will soon receive an invitation to receive a flu shot. The message comes from his doctor, who will also give him the injection. In a few weeks, he will also receive a letter from GGD explaining how he can make an appointment for a repeat coronavirus vaccine. Like Nesters, there are hundreds of thousands of residents in the North who are 60 or older or fall into a high-risk group and thus are eligible for vaccines against both coronavirus and flu this fall.

While in other countries you have been able to get both doses at once for years, in the Netherlands we still have to go to different counters. “Unfortunate, disturbing and disturbing,” virologist Nesters (UMCG) sums up his opinion on vaccination campaigns. He stresses that it can be much simpler: “Most people have two arms, so you put one vaccine in one arm and the other vaccine in the other.”

Lose enthusiasm

From a public health perspective, it would also be wise to combine the two campaigns, Nesters says. “If you have to come twice, you lose enthusiasm irretrievably,” says the virologist. “Some will get one injection, but leave the other one because it’s too much trouble. Just see how you can make it easier for the client. That gives you the best results.”

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The flu vaccine has been given by your GP for many years. When the pandemic began, vaccination against Corona was delegated to the General Directorate of Public Security. The target groups for both vaccines are now broadly similar, making combining the two campaigns logical.

A larger waiting area is needed

“We as general practitioners in Drenthe proposed merging them,” says Jan Schaert, Director of Dokter Drenthe. According to Chart, many GPs in Drenthe are willing to give the Corona vaccine in addition to the flu vaccine. But this faces practical objections.

One of these rules is the 15-minute rule: after receiving your Corona dose, you must wait another fifteen minutes at the site before you can leave. “If you stick to that rule, you need a very large space, and we GPs can’t regulate that,” says Chart. Other countries do not apply this rule. Chart: “But RIVM prefers not to take any risks.” Like virologist Nesters, Chart also believes that injection campaigns could be more convenient: “This will have to be arranged in the coming years.”

Mixture

It’s not that simple, stresses Harman Wegschil of RIVM. It states, among other things, that the target groups for both campaigns do not exactly match, and that GPs are distributing the invitation to get the flu vaccine. And they do not have the ability to take the repeated Corona injection.

“Eventually we will move towards more synergies Between the two vaccination campaigns,” predicts Wygchel. But when and how? The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport also sees vaccination sponsorship in the Netherlands as too much of a patchwork and wants more centralization of implementation. According to the ministry, the GGDs are a “logical party” in this matter, but It is not yet certain whether this also applies to the influenza vaccine.

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Who is eligible for the flu vaccine and who is eligible for the repeat coronavirus vaccine?

Millions of Dutch people will receive an invitation from their GP to get a flu vaccine in the coming weeks. This applies to all people aged 60 or over and all people in a medical risk group, such as lung patients, people who are dangerously overweight and patients with a weakened immune system. The same groups (plus healthcare workers with direct patient contact) can also get a repeat coronavirus vaccine from GGD this fall. People over 60 will receive a letter for this, while other groups can make an appointment themselves from October 16 via Planjeprik.nl.