It is possible to administer the second prick of Pfizer and BionTech for up to six weeks after the first vaccination. Even then, the vaccine is still effective. The Health Council reiterates that opinion to the Cabinet. The Cabinet wants to postpone the period between the two pricks so that more people can be vaccinated with the available vaccine. They will then get some protection against the coronavirus.
If there is no scarcity, it is better to give the second prick after 3 weeks, the Health Council adds.
mid-January, the board also advised that it was possible to postpone the second prick. The cabinet then decided to move the second prick back for new appointments. Manufacturer Pfizer, however, was a lot more cautious. According to the company, it is certain that the vaccine works at 21 days between the two pricks, but there are no guarantees when this process is delayed. When Pfizer and BionTech tested their vaccine, 93 percent of all subjects received the second inoculation after 19 to 23 days. The rest received the repeat shot after 24 to 42 days.
The European Supervisor, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in Amsterdam, amended the package leaflet of the vaccine last week. The organization advised to give the second prick 21 days after the first inoculation, and not after “at least 21 days.” That is why Minister Hugo de Jonge (Health) asked the Health Council to take another look at the issue. According to the Council, the European opinion is not based on new research data.
De Jonge had already said on Tuesday that he did not expect the Health Council to advise to reduce the time between the two pricks to three weeks. A spokesman confirms that, following this opinion, the Ministry is insisting on putting the second Biontech/Pfizer prick in the sixth week.
In order to inoculate more people faster, the cabinet has also decided to keep less stock of Pfizer vaccines. The Netherlands was initially cautious by keeping 100 percent stock in connection with the second prick. People could only be vaccinated when the second dose was already ready in a warehouse in Oss. That was then reduced to 50 percent and goes down further. “The most minimal available stock that we keep is five days,” says De Jonge.
The Netherlands has so far ordered 69 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, CureVac and Sanofi. In addition, on behalf of the Netherlands, the European Commission is negotiating with two other vaccine makers, Valneva and Novax.