Monday 16 May 2022

Phone lines overloaded as demand for the Janssen vaccine soars


Hundreds of thousands of people tried to get in touch with a special regional health board phone line to make an appointment for the single dose Janssen vaccine on Wednesday.

The government has decided to release the 200,000 Janssen shots in stock to people who want a quick jab and who are not worried by the rare side effects which led to it being removed from the Dutch vaccination programme.

The phone line fielded over 4.4 million calls during the day, with one person telling it was ‘worse than trying to get a ticket for the Lowlands festival’.

The advantage of the Leiden-developed vaccine is that it only requires one dose, and that should make it easier to travel on the European coronavirus passport this summer. It will also make it easier to attend events, such as festivals or football matches, which have been organised under the ‘test for entry’ flag.

By 6pm on Wednesday, 70,000 people had been able to make an appointment. The phone lines closed at 8pm and health minister Hugo de Jonge will update the figures later on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Jaarbeurs exhibition centre in Utrecht is hosting a mass vaccination round on Friday evening complete with DJ. The doors will close at 1am.

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