Omicron in the Netherlands: dominant by the end of December

The new Omicron variant will take up half of all reported coronavirus infections in the Netherlands by next week, reports the NOS. Luckily, new studies also confirm that the variant causes milder symptoms than the Delta variant.

However, because Omicron is significantly more infectious than previous variants, hospitals still fear a rise in ICU admissions. The Dutch Health Minister, Hugo de Jonge, has therefore sped up the booster shot campaign, promising that everyone in the Netherlands would be able to book a third jab by January 7 at the latest.

What do we know thus far?

News broke that the Omicron officially arrived at Schiphol airport when 13 passengers of two KLM flights from South Africa tested positive with the new variant. Later, it turned out that Omicron had actually been in the Netherlands a week before the WHO labelled the strand as a variant of concern.

Scientists first rang alarm bells because of how quickly Omicron spread. But luckily, three separate research teams from two different continents have now confirmed that an Omicron infection leads to milder illness than Delta, according to the New York Times.

Hospital and ICU admissions in the Netherlands are still expected to increase because Omicron leads to a speedy rise in coronavirus infections. By the end of December, it will be the dominant variant in the country, says the Dutch government.

At the moment, Omicron already makes up more than half of all coronavirus infections in Amsterdam with 59%, reports De Telegraaf.

What is being done?

Another concern was uncertainty regarding the efficacy of vaccines to protect against Omicron. But there is good news here too. The NOS reports that the Netherlands has ordered 12 million doses of an adjusted Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for 2022, which is meant to boost immunity against this variant.

Health Minister De Jonge has further amped up vaccine rollout to offer every Dutchie a booster shot by mid-January. Invitations for a first prick have also been sent out to children aged five to 11 with underlying medical conditions.

Since last week, the Netherlands has entered a hard lockdown. The closure of non-essential stores, a limit of two guests per day, and an early winter vacation for schools are some of the measures meant to curb rising infections.

Read our weekly DutchReview update for the latest numbers and news on the coronavirus in the Netherlands.

Feature Image: yalcinsonat1/Depositphotos

Cara Räker 🇩🇪
Cara Räker 🇩🇪
Cara moved to the Netherlands at fifteen and she is here to stay! After all, there is so much to love about it, except maybe the bread (as every German will tell you). Next to finishing up her bachelor's degree in European politics (dry), Cara loves to do yoga, swim, and cook delicious veggie food.

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