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Epidemiologist Rosendaal: ‘First vaccinate people under thirty, then the rest’



Leiden, 5 December 2020, 15:46 by the editors

Minister Hugo de Jonge hopes to be able to vaccinate the first people against the coronavirus on 4 January. According to epidemiologist Frits Rosendaal from LUMC, it will take a while before the vaccine helps to contain the virus. “Elderly people are primarily vaccinated. It is a choice for the safety of these people, but it does not help to inhibit the virus. That’s why I argued for vaccinating all people under thirty first. ”

The first vaccines are currently being tested and can be approved this month. Minister De Jonge (public health) hopes to be able to start vaccinating on 4 January. Rosendaal, a medical epidemiologist at LUMC in Leiden, calls it good news. “Once humans have been vaccinated, it helps to stop the spread of the virus. You can actually see this as an extra measure by the government, Rosendaal says to the media partner Omroep West.

According to Rosendaal, it will still take a while before the effects are visible. “The Cabinet has chosen to vaccinate vulnerable groups first. This protects these people and will cause mortality to drop. But this is also the group of people who hardly transmit the virus. These are people under the age of thirty and older between the ages of 50 and 65. I have therefore argued for starting vaccination here, because then you make sure that the virus is inhibited as quickly as possible and that life can return to normal. ”

Group immunity
According to Rosendaal, about 60 percent of the population must be vaccinated before the virus can be extinguished. “With the vaccine, it works just like the group immunity that Prime Minister Mark Rutte talked about in the beginning. It was then said that 60 to 70 percent of the population should have had corona. About 10 percent of the population has now been infected. Assuming they can no longer get it or transmit it, about 60 percent still need to be vaccinated to contain the virus. ”

Nevertheless, according to the expert, the corona measurement could be alleviated earlier. “When part of the population has been vaccinated, fewer people will be infected and it will pass less quickly in the groups that have been vaccinated,” Rosendaal explains. “You can actually see the vaccine as an extra measure. These are now being set up to prevent the spread of the virus in certain groups. It works the same way with the vaccine. ”

Indirect vaccination obligation
With the vaccine, it may be possible for people who have been vaccinated to do more than people who are still waiting for the vaccine. “There are different options for dealing with this. You can imagine that people who have proof that they have been vaccinated get some freedoms that others do not yet have. There are people who think it’s a good idea, but I can imagine that people are against this indirect vaccination obligation. ”

It is now particularly important that the government ensures that the organization is ready to vaccinate everyone as quickly as possible. Rosendaal really has confidence in this. With the flu shot, doctors already have a lot of experience with vaccinations. I’m already over sixty and got the injection last week. I think I was out again in three minutes. The competence is there, it is now only important that this is set properly. ”

Daily figures are not reliable
The vaccine is the way out of the corona crisis. Before the vaccine is available, we must deal with restrictive measures. The number of new infections is slowly decreasing and varies every day. RIVM reported 4,942 new coronary infections on Wednesday. This is significantly more than 4063 new infections on Tuesday. It was significantly less than Monday. According to the LUMC doctor / epidemiologist, the daily figures should not be given too much value. “Daily figures are not reliable enough, you should not look at it.”

Leiden’s epidemiologist explains: “It is a technical story, but the smaller you do the period, the greater the risk of fluctuations. If you compare the figures for every half hour, you will also see a significant reduction in, for example, the lunch break. That is why it is best to look at the weekly figures and here we see a small decrease. ”

Hardly any space
Rosendaal himself believes that the number of hospitalizations is even more important than the number of new infections every day. Not everyone with complaints can be tested and you do not know if they themselves will be tested with complaints on the first day, or only after three or four days. Hospital stays are more reliable because they contain fewer variables and people are generally hospitalized at the same time. ”

The figures make the doctor worried about the period until the vaccine can be used extensively. “The decline in the number of infections is not going as fast as expected. I think it’s scary. Because we hardly have room for a new peak. I heard that some catering companies want to open in January. I would send a boa there right away. It’s not responsible now. We have much less room for maneuver than in the summer. ”

Leiden Society Corona crisis


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