The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every country in the world, changing all of our lives. In the Netherlands, the number of casualties has already exceeded 13.000, not to mention the country's economy loss. We all think this virus has been our guest for way too long - but what can we do about it? The most effective way to battle this kind of enemy is to create a vaccine against it 💉. Multiple companies have been in a race since COVID-19 was discovered to do just that, and some of them eventually succeeded 💪.
Yes, we finally have a defence against COVID-19!
Since there are 17.280.000 people in the Netherlands, not everybody can get vaccinated immediately. It raises a whole load of new questions:
- Who will be first in the queue to get the vaccine?
- When are you likely to be offered it?
We created this calculator to deliver the answers to both of these crucial questions. The vaccine queue calculator for the Netherlands will tell you when you can expect your vaccine and estimate how many people are ahead of you in the queue.
We've based our vaccine queue calculator on the government's projections, as well as the current stats and the likely rate of vaccination.
Who gets the vaccine first? - The priority list
It's great that we now have COVID vaccines that have been approved for general use. However, that's not the end of the COVID story just yet. Millions of doses of vaccines now have to be produced and injected into the arms of people. That is one massive manufacturing, logistical, and time-consuming task for everyone involved. It is all going to take time.
The Dutch government has published a priority list of groups that will get a COVID vaccine in the first phase. Unlike in many other countries, their plan is based on dates they preset for each group, many of which overlap. Let's take a look at the list:
- Healthcare workers group 1: acute care
- Healthcare workers group 2: residential elder care
- Care home residents
- Healthcare workers group 3: residential care
- Healthcare workers group 4: institutionalized care
- Institutionalized care residents
- Adults living at home, older than 60
- Adults younger than 60: Medically vulnerable*
- Healthcare workers group 5: All other workers
- Adults younger than 60: Not medically vulnerable
Note: As of 12th February, the government decided to give priority to people suffering from obesity (BMI index > 40), Down's syndrome, or respiratory diseases. The change was made because the newly provided AstraZeneca vaccine is not recommended to people over 65.
* The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group and the Superior Health Council recommended to prioritize people with the following comorbidities for the COVID-19 vaccine:
- chronic cardiovascular, kidney or liver diseases and haematological malignancies up to 5 years from diagnosis; and
- all recent solid cancers (or recent cancer treatments).
How to use the vaccine queue calculator for the Netherlands?
Follow these steps to calculate when you can expect your COVID vaccine. The first section is all about you:
- Enter your age in years. Generally, the older you are, the sooner you'll be called up to have the vaccine.
- Say whether you live in a care home or in a institutionalized care facility. If everyone in such places is vaccinated, that will allow relatives to visit with decreased risk to the residents.
- Are you pregnant? If the answer is yes, please consult your doctor. There is insufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy.
- Are you a healthcare worker (e.g., nurse, doctor, etc.)? If so, specify the sector you work in. In general, the more exposure to the virus you have, the sooner you'll be protected.
- Have you got one of the underlying health conditions mentioned above?
You will then see a time range of when you can expect the vaccine. You can also choose to see the government projection or an estimate of the minimum and the maximum number of people who are inline to receive the vaccine before you based on the vaccination rate and uptake. In the latter, we also indicate how long it might be before you get both doses of the vaccine and become fully protected, based on recent statistics or the data you input yourself. By default, we base these figures on the current vaccination rate a week and a default uptake rate of 75% (not everyone who is offered the vaccine will accept it). If you want to change these values, you can do it in the Rollout of vaccines section.
We know that waiting to get the vaccine can be frustrating. However, by prioritising those people that are most at risk of hospitalisation and death, we should quickly be able to save lives with this fantastic new weapon against the virus.
Who shouldn't be vaccinated?
A COVID-19 vaccination is not recommended to children under 18 years old 👶👦👧
It shouldn't surprise or raise any doubts, since new drugs are usually tested on adults first. However, as more studies are carried out, these contraindications might change.
We try our best to make our Omni Calculators as precise and reliable as possible. However, this tool can never replace a professional doctor's assessment. Consult your doctor before taking the vaccine and in case of any doubt.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the European Medicines Agency and passed all their safety tests. However, as with any approved drug on the market, you may experience side effects. Generally, though, the risk of side effects is much smaller than the possible consequences of a nasty COVID-19 infection.
These side effects include pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. Some people might also have injection site swelling and redness, and nausea. Very rarely people feel unwell and have enlarged lymph nodes.
How many shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will I need?
Nearly all COVID-19 vaccines approved or under development need two shots to be effective. The doses need to be around 3 to 12 weeks apart, depending on the vaccine. For example, you need to have the two Pfizer/BioNTech shots 21 days apart, while the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be up to 12 weeks apart.
I'm pregnant or breastfeeding. Can I be vaccinated?
Currently, clinical trials have not yet provided data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women. At the same time, there is no information on contraindications to the vaccination during pregnancy. According to the CDC, women who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive COVID-19 vaccine (e.g. healthcare personnel) may choose to be vaccinated.
🤰 The decision to vaccinate should be made by the pregnant woman, after clarification of possible doubts with the doctor.
👶 There is no need to interrupt or avoid the initiation of breastfeeding by women who have received COVID-19 vaccine.
Women planning to become pregnant in the near future are advised to take the vaccination. The vaccine has not been shown to affect fertility.
Do I still need to wear a mask after I am vaccinated?
Yes, you need to wear a mask. At this stage, it is still unclear whether the current vaccine will also prevent the transmission of the virus to people around you. It is similar to the current situation where people have COVID-19 but suffer no symptoms. However, they are still able to transmit it to others. It may be only until a good majority of people have been vaccinated that restrictions to our daily lives are lifted.
For flu, experts say the herd immunity should be achieved when around 70% of population gets vaccinated, so that is the current working theory for COVID-19.
If I've had COVID-19, do I need to be vaccinated?
Yes. If you have had COVID-19, then your body will have some natural immunity to it, preventing you from suffering from it again. However, some early evidence suggests this natural immunity might not last very long. While we also don't know precisely how long the vaccine's protection lasts, it could be better than your natural immunity. It will undoubtedly extend the time you are resistant to COVID-19.
Will there be enough vaccine for everyone?
Certainly not at the moment, but eventually, yes. Pfizer alone plans to produce 1.3 billion doses of its vaccine in 2021. As further vaccines are approved and manufactured, more supply will come on stream to meet the demand around the world.