Booster vaccination

The booster vaccination campaign has started. A booster vaccination gives a boost to the immunity you acquired after your initial vaccination. So it helps to keep you optimally protected against coronavirus. 

Aim booster vaccination

Since 19 November 2021, everyone aged 80 and over is being invited to get their booster vaccination. The aim is for as many seniors as possible to get a booster vaccination before the end of the year. Care home residents aged 18 and over are also getting their booster vaccinations now, as well as healthcare workers and social support workers who work directly with patients and clients. From 3 December 2021 invitations will be sent to people with Down’s syndrome. After these groups have received their booster vaccinations, invitations will be sent to everyone under 60, in order of descending age.

Booster vaccination with mRNA vaccines

Everyone who is eligible for a booster vaccination will be offered an mRNA vaccine: either BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna. This is irrespective of the vaccine they were previously vaccinated with.

You cannot choose which vaccine you will get as your booster vaccination.

Administering the booster vaccination

Time between first vaccination(s) and the booster vaccination

The booster vaccination must be given a minimum of 6 months after the last coronavirus vaccination. If you have had coronavirus since being vaccinated, there must be 6 months between the time you were infected and the booster vaccination. The flu vaccination and the pneumococcal vaccination can be given 2 weeks before or after the booster vaccination.

People under the age of 60 who do not live in a facility

People under the age of 60 who do not live in a facility and who want a booster vaccine will be able to get one after the oldest and most vulnerable people have had theirs. Currently, the Health Council of the Netherlands does not consider it medically necessary to give a booster to people under 60. Their existing coronavirus vaccinations still provide them with sufficient protection, and also protect against the Delta variant of the virus. The most important predictor that coronavirus infection could have a more serious impact on a person’s health is their age.

RIVM monitors how well coronavirus vaccines are continuing to work. The vaccines still protect offer more than 90% protection to people who are fully vaccinated. On average, coronavirus vaccinations offer the following:

  • 94% protection against hospital admission;
  • 97% protection against ICU admission.

Vaccinated with Janssen or AstraZeneca and under the age of 60

Many people are wondering if the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is continuing to give them sufficient protection. The latest figures from RIVM show that the level of protection against hospital admission continues to be high for both Janssen and AstraZeneca vaccines.

The Health Council has been asked to advise the government in the short-term on whether or not to offer a booster vaccination to all people who have been vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine.

The Health Council is also looking at offering a booster vaccination to people under the age of 60 who have had the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Booster vaccination and Digital COVID Certificate

Whether or not you have a booster vaccination, your Digital COVID Certificate will remain valid. This applies to both your Digital COVID Certificate for travel within Europe (DCC) and your coronavirus entry pass for activities in the Netherlands. If you have a booster vaccination your DCC and coronavirus entry pass will simply have the booster vaccination added to them. You do not have to wait another 2 weeks to get a valid QR code. Before you travel, always check the travel advice that applies to the country you are planning to visit (Wijsopreis.nl).

The difference between a third dose and a booster

A third vaccination is part of the basic vaccination series for people with a severe immune system disorder. For some of these people, the third dose is necessary in order to be well protected against serious illness or death due to coronavirus. Another group of these people are not well protected against COVID-19, even after the third dose. It is very difficult to predict who this will happen to.

For most other people, the basic vaccination series consists of 1 or 2 doses, after which they are optimally protected. This means that the third dose for patients with a severe immune disorder is different from the booster vaccination for the rest of the population.

Here too, whether or not you receive a third dose does not affect your Digital COVID Certificate or coronavirus entry pass.