A peak in the number of infections is expected in the autumn. Is it smart to postpone getting the corona jab until the expected autumn peak, so that you are optimally protected at that time? Or is it just unwise to wait? Marcel Levi answers.
Marcel Levic is an internist, chairman of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and professor of medicine at the University of Amsterdam.
How necessary is it that we all get vaccinated again?
Marcel Levi: “We now know that the vaccines do not protect against infection very well, but they do ensure that you do not get so sick if you get corona. The vaccine also protects you against hospitalization. That is the great advantage of getting vaccinated. This only works out in the long run. Young people on average no longer benefit from the vaccine after six to twelve months, in older people this can already be the case after three to six months. Therefore, the injection must be repeated. What does play a role is that a corona infection can also provide you with antibodies. Some people have even had corona twice between shots. They will have built up a good immune system by now and the injection may be a little less necessary. So this really varies from person to person. But I would advise people with a fragile health and/or an age over sixty to take the repeat shot.”
Is this vaccine exactly the same as the previous corona vaccines?
“Probably the next round of vaccinations will be with an adjusted vaccine. This vaccine is made in such a way that it also protects against the new virus variants that have now been added. The vaccine has not yet been approved, but they expect it to be in September.”
Postponing the corona vaccine until the expected autumn peak: is that a smart idea?
“You have to realize that this round is expected to start in the second half of September. Then it will be the turn of healthcare staff, people with vulnerable health and the elderly. If you are younger, it will therefore not be your turn before the beginning of October. Maybe even in November.”
When can we expect that fall peak?
“No idea, nobody knows. We’re not even sure if that spike will come. So far we have seen that the virus mainly revives in the autumn when it gets colder outside, people sit inside more and there is less ventilation. But let’s be honest: we have just passed a peak, and we have had little trouble with that. The autumn peak could just be very bad.”
How are the numbers now?
“We have had a peak in the last six weeks, as have many other European countries. But the numbers are falling very fast right now. Hospital admissions are also dropping significantly, and there weren’t that many. In the Netherlands, we now measure the corona figures with a very special system: using sewage water. At all water treatment points in the country, there are 350, sampling is done three times a week. Thanks to these very accurate measurements, they know exactly how much virus is circulating.”
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