Dutch government announces plans to speed up coronavirus vaccinations
The Dutch government have announced big plans for the national vaccination scheme as they significantly increase the vaccination rate and hope to have carried out four million jabs by mid-April.
Dutch government: Four million jabs by mid-April
The Netherlands is currently sitting at a little over 2,1 million vaccinations, which amounts to approximately 11 percent of the population. These figures give the Netherlands one of the worst vaccination rates in Europe, but Health Minister Hugo de Jonge is hoping to turn that around.
Furthermore, the government’s decision to temporarily halt the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine significantly reduced the number of vaccinations that took place last week. With GGDs resuming the use of the vaccine today, the Ministry of Health has announced that the vaccination pace will be scaled up considerably this week to compensate for the cancelled appointments: over 400.000 appointments are scheduled for this week, with a further 500.000 planned for next week.
In addition to this, in a letter published this morning, the cabinet revealed it hoped to carry out another two million jabs within the next three weeks, so that a total of four million vaccinations take place by mid-April. On top of that, the government aims to have eight million adults fully immunised by the end of June. De Jonge maintains that every adult in the Netherlands who wants to be vaccinated should receive at least one jab by July 1.
The Netherlands expected to receive large vaccine deliveries over the coming weeks
The government says these goals are now achievable thanks to the fact that pharmaceutical companies are set to deliver more doses over the coming weeks. Janssen, for example, is expected to deliver almost 170.000 doses in April, while AstraZeneca will deliver over 425.000 doses next week.
Many have been critical of the Netherlands’ slow pace when it comes to rolling out the vaccines and immunising its population. As the United Kingdom has vaccinated over 40 percent of its population and the government plans for significant relaxations to coronavirus restrictions over the months, medical experts here in the Netherlands are calling on the government to vaccinate faster.
However, De Jonge says it is not possible to carry out vaccinations 24 hours a day, seven days a week due to a lack of supply. He told De Telgraaf that vaccinations were been carried out as quickly as possible, and that the government and Health Council of the Netherlands were looking into ways to further speed up the pace - for example, by only administering one jab to people who have had coronavirus in the last six months.