Image: ©Hollandse Hoogte

COVID-19 and vaccination against pneumococci (2)

In 2018, the Health Council recommended that elderly people aged between 60 and 80 should be offered a vaccination against pneumococci once every five years. In response to this, the National Programme for Pneumococcus Vaccination in Adults (Nationaal Programma Pneumokokkenvaccinatie Volwassenen, NPPV) was established. Under the provisions of that programme, the 60, 65, 70, and 75 age groups would be consecutively invited to get vaccinated from the autumn of 2020 onwards. In the spring of 2020, the State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) asked the Council whether, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPPV needed to be modified. In its advisory report, the Health Council recommended that, when implementing the programme, priority should be given to the most elderly people, as they are the most vulnerable. The State Secretary has adopted the advisory report. Accordingly, everyone aged 70 to 79 will be offered a vaccination against pneumococci in 2020 and 2021. The Council now recommends that implementation of the NPPV, in its revised form, should be continued in the upcoming years. It would make sense to reassess this situation once invitations for pneumococcal vaccination have been issued to the entire group of people aged 60 to 80 and when it is time for the first five-yearly repeat vaccinations, or if new vaccines have become available in the meantime.