A 39-year old care home worker from Brabant has become the first person in the Netherlands to be vaccinated against coronavirus.
Sanna Elkadiri was given the vaccination at the mass vaccination centre in Veghel in what health minister Hugo de Jonge described as a ‘marvellous moment’.
‘After 10 months of crisis, here we are starting to make an end to this crisis,’ De Jonge told reporters. ‘It is going to be a while before the trouble is behind us… but we are starting to vaccinate the nursing home staff who have suffered so much.’
The minister has been heavily criticized for the late start to the vaccination programme in the Netherlands and his strategy was slammed for being chaotic by opposition MPs in Tuesday’s debate.
And earlier this week he admitted the government had not been agile enough in its approach.
While the Veghel centre is open for business on Wednesday – with just 36 vaccinations on the schedule, according to broadcaster NOS – other locations in hospitals are also starting up from Wednesday. The government has opted to vaccinate nursing home staff and essential acute care workers as a priority.
Rotterdam and Houten’s mass vaccination centres open on Thursday, followed by Amsterdam, Assen and The Hague on Monday. From next Friday, all 25 locations run by regional health boards will be operational.
André Rouvoet, head of the regional health board association GGD-GHOR said his organisation is ready for the challenge.
‘The first vaccinations mark the start of this mega operation, in which we are going to vaccinate everyone in the Netherlands in the coming months,’ he said. ‘The health boards are ready, the hospitals are ready. We are going to begin.’
An increasing number of people in the Netherlands now say they are willing to be vaccinated against coronavirus, according to a new survey by Ipsos on behalf of broadcaster NOS.
Around half the representative group of 1,000 people said they would definitely be vaccinated and 25% said they ‘probably’ would. Earlier Ipsos surveys put the willingness to be vaccinated at 66% and 69%.
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