The decision to allow people to go clubbing as soon as they have had a single vaccine dose was taken after weighing the health risks against the practicalities, health minister Hugo de Jonge told reporters ahead of Friday’s cabinet meeting.
De Jonge was responding to criticism of the decision to allow people to pack into crowded clubs without social distancing before the vaccine has properly kicked in. Both virologists and MPs have slammed the move as irresponsible.
At least one club open last weekend is known to be at the centre of a coronavirus cluster and the ‘test for entry’ system was hit by computer failures, leading to reports that some clubs were allowing people to test at the door and people were passing around QR codes.
Nevertheless, in addition to being a sensible move, being able to access events immediately has been ‘a reason for many people’ to get vaccinated quickly, De Jonge said. And to keep coronavirus at bay, it is important to make sure as many people are vaccinated as possible, he said.
The government’s Outbreak Management Team, the minister said, also supports this position. The national health council, however, says two weeks delay is needed to benefit from the best protection.
In addition, the AD points out, the information leaflet provided with the Janssen vaccine is clear that it only offers protection after two weeks.
The policy, virologist Bert Niesters told the AD, is ‘total nonsense. ‘If you have any understanding of vaccinations, then you know that you are not protected after a day… I am really angry about this.’
Meanwhile, clubs, festival organisers and concert halls are gearing up for a second weekend of partying this weekend, and almost 270,000 people have made an appointment to get tested so they can go out on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
In Breda, for example, 10,000 people are expected to attend the Ploegendienst festival, and long queues built up at test centres on Friday.
Testen voor toegang lijkt wel een Efteling-attractie! 😱
Al 45 min in de rij buiten… pic.twitter.com/kQLmqu2YEf
— 💯% Ilse (@ilseIVmarketing) July 2, 2021
Stichting Open Nederland, which is in charge of the test for entry system, said its IT systems have been tested for stability and test centres will be open for longer to head off a repeat of last weekend’s problems and delays.
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