After the over-80s, the Netherlands will start this week boosting people over 18 who live in healthcare institutions and healthcare employees who have direct contact with patients. The extra corona shot is intended as a boost for people who have built up sufficient protection through previous vaccinations, but whose immunity has decreased over time (read more about the usefulness of the booster shots here).

More and more countries have started giving that booster shot. Israel leads the way; there, most of the adult population has been vaccinated three times. The countries around us also started earlier. Our correspondents have the overview:

Great Britain: 15 million boosters deployed

In the United Kingdom, the vaccination campaign started earlier than in the EU. As a result, the booster shot was also rolled out earlier, says correspondent Fleur Launspach. More than 15 million Britons have now received a booster. Since last week, people over 40 have also been called upon to get a third shot.

According to Launspach, the UK is of course looking at Europe, where the infection numbers are rising rapidly. There is no contagion wave in our own country. The infection rates are not low, but they are fairly constant and the government finds the number of hospital admissions still manageable. According to scientists, this is due to the booster and because more than 90 percent of English people now have antibodies.

So there are virtually no restrictions in England, no mandatory mouth caps, no QR codes and everything will remain open for the time being. The British government says they see no reason to introduce new measures in the current corona figures.

Germany: three in four shots is a booster

In general, the number of people who have been vaccinated at all in Germany has remained somewhat stable in recent weeks, at just over two thirds of the population. The German government and health organizations would therefore prefer to see the rest get a first or second shot quickly. But: three out of four vaccinations are currently a refresher. So there is more momentum, says correspondent Charlotte Waaijers.

More than 6 million people have now received a refresher in Germany. The committee now recommends a refresher for everyone over the age of 18, as soon as their last shot has passed long enough. But that doesn’t mean everyone can get an appointment quickly. Large vaccination centers were phased out after the large-scale vaccination campaign in the summer. Now scaling up again is slow.

This week there was also a fuss about a comment by Health Minister Spahn. He said the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine will be rationed because the government must get rid of the supply of Moderna first. Otherwise it spoils in February. This led to fears of scarcity if not all available BioNTech/Pfizer doses were delivered. GPs are concerned about the extra work involved in switching to another vaccine, especially when it is already so busy. And the plan raised the question of whether people who have previously been injected with BioNTech/Pfizer can get a refresher from Moderna at all.

Spahn has since apologized for his remark. All available stocks, including those from BioNTech/Pfizer, will be delivered, he assures. And where the rationing leads to doubts about the quality of Moderna, he tries to remove them. BioNTech/Pfizer is the Mercedes of vaccines, according to the minister, and Moderna the Rolls-Royce.

Belgium: started in September, first effect visible

In Belgium, it was already decided at the end of September to give healthcare staff, the over-65s and people with the Janssen vaccine a booster shot. The government wants to give these people an extra vaccination before the end of December. At the moment, this has already been achieved in about half of the Belgian over-65s; the majority of the over-85s have now received additional vaccinations.

According to correspondent Aïda Brands, quite a few people still need to be pricked to achieve the goal. There is a huge need for the booster shot, especially among healthcare staff, now that more and more doctors and nurses have corona. Some have therefore criticized that it is now all going much slower than the first vaccination campaign. Nevertheless, Belgium is ahead of a number of other neighboring countries.

The booster shot already seems to have a cautious effect. The latest hospital figures show that the number of over-65s admitted to hospital is decreasing again. You can now also see a slight decrease among the over-45s.

It is remarkable that in recent weeks more and more Belgians have been vaccinated for the first time. The fourth wave and the coronapas seem to have made more and more people who did not want to vaccinate at first, change their mind.

France: without a booster no valid corona pass for the elderly

In France, it has been possible since September for people over 65 to receive a booster. About 30 percent of them have now received that extra shot. For them, there is not only a health interest: without a third jab, their corona pass will no longer be valid. This pass is required to enter restaurants and museums, among other things.

Sick people and caregivers are also allowed to use a booster. People in the age of 50-64 years will have their turn from 1 December. Those who have been fully vaccinated can register six months after the last shot. It is still unclear whether this age group will also need the new injection for a valid corona pass. Further expansion of the booster is on the way, says correspondent Frank Renout.

Most specialists advocate a nationwide third shot (or second, after Jansen) for all adult French people. According to Renout, many doctors also emphasize that a booster alone will not be enough to get through the winter unscathed. A scientific advisory board advocates, among other things, extending a mouth cap obligation and more working from home. It is therefore expected that the government will also decide on other tightening up tomorrow, in addition to the expansion of the booster.

There is also international criticism of the booster shot. For example, the World Health Organization says that in many poor countries people have not even had their first shot and that rich countries should show more solidarity.


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