News releases | 01-12-2020 | 14.30
If all goes well, the first person will be vaccinated against the coronavirus in the Netherlands in early January. In response to the schedule published today by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Minister Hugo de Jonge (VWS) reported that everything in logistical operations was aimed at starting vaccinations by the week of January 4, 2021. RIVM, GGD, general practitioners and doctors from nursing homes and institutions work closely together.
“Vaccines are now in reach and we are on the threshold of a new phase in this crisis. A phase of hope and a new perspective. Now it is up to EMA to do its job with care. We make sure we are ready as soon as the green light comes on. Therefore, this may have happened as early as January. But here’s a word of warning: this is truly the most profitable scenario. The EMA and the European Commission are the first to act. And security comes before speed, “said Minister De Jonge.
Earlier today, the European Medicines Agency announced that vaccine developers BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna have officially applied for distribution permits. This means that the vaccine testing phase is over. The EMA will now assess vaccines in close coordination with the Drug Evaluation Council (MEB) for safety, quality and effectiveness, among others. If this process goes well, EMA expects to issue an assessment of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine by 29 December. If there is a positive assessment, the European Commission may decide shortly thereafter, perhaps before the turn of the year, about the acceptance of this vaccine into the European market. Discussions are being held with implementers about how to start administering the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine under this scenario in the following week (the week of 4 January).
The government has indicated in the vaccination strategy that they will adopt the advice of the Health Council. This means that the elderly, vulnerable people and health workers are the first to be vaccinated. Whether the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine is suitable for this target group should be clearly seen from the EMA assessment. If this is not the case, another group will emerge. Therefore, the vaccination strategy is flexible: several scenarios are being worked out together with RIVM and other implementers. One starting point is that as little waste as possible from the rare vaccine should occur.
BioNTech / Pfizer is expected to supply around one million doses of its vaccine to the Netherlands during December in anticipation of a marketing permit decision. This means that around 450,000 people can be vaccinated. Early delivery also means – if the EMA is positive – vaccinations can be started immediately after an official European Commission decision. Furthermore, according to the latest information, BioNTech / Pfizer could provide an additional 1.6 million doses of its vaccine in the first quarter of 2021.
A decision on the Moderna vaccine is expected in mid-January, reports the EMA. Moderna hopes – with a positive opinion from the EMA – to supply about 400,000 doses to the Netherlands in the first quarter of 2021. It is expected that even larger numbers, from some vaccine developers (subject to EMA approval), will come to the Netherlands in the second and third quarters. However, at this time concrete figures cannot be attributed to this.
The Netherlands and the EU have been deliberately widely placed when purchasing vaccines. There are now contracts with six different vaccine developers: BioNTech / Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, AstraZeneca, Curevac and Sanofi. If all of these vaccines were accepted on the European market, the Netherlands would have access to more than 50 million doses. Since most vaccines require two vaccinations per person, that’s enough for more than 29 million people. In addition, most contracts allow additional submissions and discussions are held with other vaccine developers. 700 million euros have been reserved for vaccine purchases.