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COVID-19 and vaccination against pneumococci

In 2018 the Health Council recommended to vaccinate people aged between 60 and 80 against pneumococci once every five years. To implement this advisory report the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has made preparations for a programme in which people aged 60, 65, 70 and 75 will be invited to get vaccinated against pneumococci. The State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport has asked the Health Council whether the COVID-19 pandemic is a reason to prioritise certain groups for this vaccination. The Health Council recommends prioritising people of the highest ages, as they are the most vulnerable. They have an elevated risk of a severe clinical course for both pneumococcal infections and COVID-19. The Health Council therefore recommends prioritising people aged 70 to 79 for vaccination against pneumococci, starting with the oldest and depending on availability of the vaccine and implementation aspects. The Council also recommends adding patients who have suffered damage to their lungs because of COVID-19 to the groups with a medical indication for pneumococcus vaccination.