1. How many infections are there?
The number of coronavirus infections has risen again in recent weeks, according to RIVM figures. But the organization said that this increase is not a cause for panic. The new variant is light.
The RIVM bases the increase in the number of infections on the number of virus particles in the wastewater. It rose sharply in the second week of August compared to the previous week – an increase of 58 percent. Last week, that average fell again by 22%.
Few people infected with Corona have been hospitalized so far. Last week, a total of 50 people were hospitalized due to Corona, compared to 42 people in the previous week.
2. Is this vaccination round necessary?
Minister of Health, Social Welfare and Sport Kuipers Announced in July A new round of twitching for the beginning of autumn. This was based on the advice of the Board of Health. Preparations have already begun. The minister is due to decide all the details in September.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also advises continuing the booster program for high-risk groups in the fall. Virologist Jorben Begelmann of Wageningen University understands this. He added, “We have only known the Corona virus since 2020, which is not a long time. That is why we do not yet know how immunity develops against the virus and how the protection of vaccines will hold up in the future.”
According to Begelman, it is difficult to estimate what the virus will do this fall. “This is why it is not wise to call people in. The elderly and the weak can get a flu shot every year. The flu takes many victims among the elderly every year, and Corona has done that too.”
3. What do we know about the latest version of the Corona virus?
The new EG.5 coronavirus variant circulating now is also called Eris. It is now mainly traded in countries such as South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. It is also the most common virus variant in the United States. It controls more and more countries. The World Health Organization states that Iris is likely to cause a wave of infections.
“EG.5 is the XBB, which is a sub-variant of Omikron. There are many XBB variants out there,” says Wychgel. “This variant has also been seen in wastewater in the Netherlands.” According to him, there are still no indications that Iris is more pathogenic than previous variants.
4. Who will be invited to take the photo?
Once the minister makes the decision, about 4.8 million people will be invited from the second half of September, Harald Wichgl of RIVM said. And this will concern all people over 60 years old. People with poor health are also entitled to an injection and can report to the GGD. Previously, they had received a letter from their GP, which is different this year.
People from 60 to 70 years old can make an appointment themselves. For people over 70, there is an invitation date with the location and time indicated in the letter. Health care workers who have direct contact with patients can also get an injection. Pregnant women can get vaccinated all year round. The rest of the population is not invited, which is not necessary, according to the Board of Health.
5. Will a new vaccine be used in the vaccination round?
“It is expected that a new vaccine designed specifically for the XBB variant will be vaccinated,” says Wichgill. This new vaccine is still awaiting approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). “I’ll come with an evaluation soon.”
Depending on the delivery of these vaccines, which are produced by BioNTech/Pfizer, and the preparation time required, RIVM anticipates that vaccinations could begin in October.
Virologist Jorbin Begelman hopes that the vaccine’s side effects will also be examined. “The first vaccines worked well and were important for suppressing the epidemic, but many people suffered side effects and were very ill for a day. Now that there is less willingness to be vaccinated among the healthy population, I think it would be wise” if we study protein-based vaccines, You will find that it has different side effects. It already exists, for example from Novafax, but now you have to order it privately.”
6. Is the vaccine free for everyone?
That’s just the question. GGD says injections are free for people who qualify. For people who do not belong to the target group, the Ministry of Health, Social Welfare and Sport must still make a decision and report to the House of Representatives. That will be in early September.
7. Is there enough staff to prick everyone?
GGD GHOR Holland thinks so. Various GGDs are involved in preparation exercises. “This shows that the personnel recruitment process for the fall campaign is going well,” says GGD GHOR Holland spokesperson.
GGDs still have a few weeks to prepare. “People are needed for vaccination, administration around vaccinations and doctors who supervise the vaccination process. In addition, there are traffic supervisors, security guards and people who provide reception at the vaccination site. But it is going well for the time being.”
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