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Could there be an indirect mandatory vaccination rule in the Netherlands?

Could there be an indirect mandatory vaccination rule in the Netherlands?

Could there be an indirect mandatory vaccination rule in the Netherlands?

At a debate in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte revealed that cabinet ministers were considering implementing a so-called indirect vaccination obligation in the Netherlands when the coronavirus vaccine becomes available. 

An indirect vaccination obligation against coronavirus

The Dutch government has already stated that, similarly to the rules surrounding the CoronaMelder app, vaccination against COVID-19 will not be made mandatory in the Netherlands and that employers will not be able to force workers to be vaccinated. 

However, if the country wants to release itself from the grip of the virus, at least 60 percent of the population will have to be vaccinated, and the government has to face the fact that there are several people across the country who, for a number of reasons, aren’t too keen to receive the vaccine. 

Therefore, Rutte has said he is willing to look into the possibility of an indirect rule which could, for example, mean that non-vaccinated people are not allowed into certain areas or buildings. He said the cabinet can “indirectly nudge” people towards vaccination, but must first consider the medical and ethical repercussions of such a policy.  

Other members of Rutte’s party, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), are also supportive of this policy, with MP Hayke Veldman saying: "I prefer that everyone [is vaccinated] voluntarily, but I am prepared to make it an indirect vaccination obligation so that if you don't get vaccinated, it will have consequences.” 

Stricter measures for un-vaccinated people in the Netherlands

In October, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said he didn’t support a mandatory vaccination rule, as he felt it would only lead to less support for the vaccine. Furthermore, contradicting Rutte’s statements at the debate, he announced he was not in favour of an indirect vaccination obligation. 

However, he has said numerous times over the past few weeks that it’s likely that those who are not (yet) vaccinated will have to adhere to stricter measures than those who are vaccinated. For example, residents, employees and carers in a nursing home who are vaccinated will no longer have to adhere to the 1,5-metre distance rule. 

A number of other political parties have also expressed concern for what an indirect vaccination rule could mean. Denk, ChristenUnie and the Reformed Political Party (SGP) all opposed the idea. 

Victoria Séveno

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Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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