And as Israel doles out a second round of booster jabs to the most at-risk patients, the Netherlands is entertaining giving people as many as six shots.
In a Wednesday letter to parliament, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge suggested that the Netherlands should consider additional rounds of booster jabs to fight new variants, with two in 2022 and another shot in 2023, according to Newsweek.
Let’s pause for one second to note that the dominant strain in the world right now, Omicron, is “markedly resistant” to the current Covid-19 vaccines, per a December 20 study from Columbia University.
The letter also said that the Netherlands has enough booster vaccines for its current booster campaign, if one factors in all the people who will reject the jabs.
In the letter, De Jonge added that “[c]ertainly 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.”
The Netherlands has bought up vaccine stock in order to avoid shortages, ordering nearly 6M doses from Pfizer and BioNTech. And it’s already laid claim to at least 17M more doses between now and 2023. The company is already working on a new formulation to target the omicron variant. As of Dec. 26, 89% of people aged 18 or over had received at least one vaccine dose. A total of 85.9% of those who are age 18 and over are fully vaccinated.
As an aside, World Health Organization director, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has urged developed nations in the west not to rely too much on booster shots in their COVID policy, because humanity should prioritize vaccines for the developing world before hoarding all the boosters for the west.
So, one has to wonder, will the WHO pressure the Netherlands to instead ship these jabs to the developing world, where half as many full doses could be derived from these materials? A booster dose is only half of a full vaccine dose, so the Netherlands could make 2x as many boosters as full vaccine doses with its stockpile. Of course, there’s also the issue of storing and transporting them.
Perhaps it comes down to that which would signal more virtue? Either way, vaccine makers win.