GPs launch site offering unused vaccine doses to prevent waste
GPs and health institutions across the Netherlands have teamed up to launch prullenbakvaccin.nl (“rubbish bin vaccine”) that allows anyone who is yet to be vaccinated against coronavirus to check whether there are any leftover vaccines in their area at the end of the day.
Dutch GPs launch prullenbakvaccin.nl to prevent vaccine waste
The coronavirus vaccination campaign in the Netherlands has faced criticism for, among other things, the number of vaccine doses that are wasted every day simply because people fail to show up for their appointments. Now, GPs and doctors have come up with a solution, launching a website that allows members of the public to see if there are any leftover vaccines within a 20-kilometre radius of where they live.
While the site doesn’t allow someone to reserve a vaccine dose, it does mean they can travel to a local vaccination site that registers leftover doses towards the end of the day. The system will work on a first come, first served basis, meaning that no one is guaranteed a vaccine, and no one will be able to chose which vaccine they receive.
The site was launched by doctors who felt something had to be done to prevent excessive vaccine waste, but who highlight that everything is carried out according to the vaccination guidelines set out by the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM). “If I don't have to throw away any vaccines because of this, that would be great,” said one of the founders Bernard Leenstra, a trainee GP.
Ministry of Health critical of new initiative
A few weeks ago, a GP in Zwolle shared an image on his Twitter account, showing how many vaccines he was forced to waste at the end of the day. This revelation led to much frustration across the country, as many wondered why the Dutch government hadn’t taken action to prevent this from happening by setting up some kind of system by which members of the public could register themselves to receive any leftover vaccines.
While many may be relieved to hear something is being done, the Ministry of Health has spoken out against the initiative: “it is not a sensible idea.” According to the Ministry, GPs must report any leftover vaccines to the RIVM, who will then ensure the doses reach the vulnerable and elderly first.
The Ministry also highlighted that very few doses are actually wasted, something which one of the founders of prullenbakvaccin.nl, Marlies Schijven, agrees with. But she stands by the initiative, saying “every vaccine that is thrown in the trash is one too many.”