THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Seeking to head off a fall COVID-19 surge, the government of the Netherlands said Friday that everyone age 12 years and over would be eligible for a vaccine booster shot in a campaign expected to start in September.
The Dutch health ministry said in a statement that an advisory panel of experts recommended the new round of vaccinations “to maintain protection against serious illness and death, to ensure access to health care” and to prevent problems caused by issues such as staff shortages.
The booster shots will be with updated vaccines if they are proven to offer better protection against new mutations of the coronavirus — and if the vaccines have received approval from the European Medicines Agency.
The Netherlands is emerging from a summer peak in COVID-19 infections that led to a rise in hospitalizations but did not overwhelm the health care system. After climbing steeply, the rate of new infections slowed in recent weeks.
More than 22,000 people in the Netherlands are confirmed to have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
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