Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that vaccinations will begin in the Netherlands on January 4 “if all goes well”. But experts are calling this unrealistic, saying that the Dutch vaccination plan is chaotic.
“There is nothing to indicate that we are ready,” says Jan Fransoo, professor of logistics at Tilburg University and Eindhoven University of Technology. “Nothing has yet been announced about which strategy RIVM has chosen.”
The RIVM is still investigating options for distributing the vaccine on mass, which Fransoo has criticized as too slow, reports NOS. “I don’t understand the fact that RIVM is so vague about logistics. We’ve known for almost a year that these vaccines are being developed.”
Piet Fortuin, chairman of the CNV union, fears that the Netherlands is going to “fall behind dramatically” as was the case with testing. “The vaccination of millions of people is an immense, unprecedented operation unlike anything seen before in the Netherlands.”
Fortuin wants a military implementation plan like Germany’s, where hundreds of vaccination streets have already been set up in sports halls and stadiums.
“Everything will be ready there in two weeks. The Netherlands waits quietly for the vaccine to be delivered ready-made. Only then to see how the implementation is going. This is a pure waste of time. If we continue like this, it will take another year before everyone has been vaccinated,” the chairman says.
Herman van der Weide, former Chief Inspector of Health Care, predicts similar chaos around vaccinations in the Netherlands and doubts systems will be ready by January 4. “Unless they find another Pandora’s box, I don’t know how they’re going to do it.”
Van Der Weide believes the Netherlands should have started preparing months ago, as Germany did in July. There, volunteers have already been trained to vaccinate the public.
Impact on the economy
Although cabinet has made it clear that the elderly and vulnerable will be the first to be vaccinated, no clear implementation plan has been announced. “Just saying ‘it will be fine’ is not enough,” says Fortuin, because the delays that such incoordination could cause will only damage the economy further.
CNV argues that “the cabinet must therefore speed up the conversion of test streets to vaccination streets,” so that people can go back to work as soon as possible.
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