Should Rutte and the king follow the US example and receive their COVID vaccination in public?

In the US, former presidents are being vaccinated on camera to show the public that the vaccine is safe. Now the question in the Netherlands has risen: should Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the Dutch royal family follow suit?

The three most recent former US presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton hope to promote public confidence in the new coronavirus vaccine with their new awareness campaign. They want to do what they can to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Former President Obama says he may end up getting the vaccine on TV or having it filmed, as soon as it’s ready for people who are less at risk.

“People like Anthony Fauci, who I know, and I’ve worked with, I trust completely,” he said in a SiriusXM interview. “So, if Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting COVID, absolutely, I’m going to take it.”

Should Rutte and the king do the same?

Some people in the Netherlands are now suggesting a similar campaign would benefit the Netherlands, according to RTL Nieuws. Prime Minister Rutte was asked if he would be vaccinated in front of TV cameras.

A spokesperson for the prime minister responded that “In the Netherlands, we are following the vaccination policy properly.” He says that when the time comes, Rutte will be vaccinated “but how that will happen, we will not anticipate yet.”

Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge doesn’t want to commit to a public vaccination yet either. Neither of the ministers is particularly vulnerable and they will not be in the first group vaccinated in the country.

Balkenende on-board

Former Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, on the other hand, might just go for it. He tells RTL that “Any action can, of course, only be taken in consultation with others, but I would consider it.” Balkenende says he feels very positive about the vaccine.

Too personal for the royal family

For the Dutch royal family, representatives say simply that the vaccination “is a private matter.” Neither the 53-year-old King Willem-Alexander nor the 82-year-old Princess Beatrix (who falls into the first round of vaccinations), will likely be filmed receiving their vaccinations.

“That is too personal. Even if it may help a little, they are not going to do it,” says royalty reporter Rick Evers.” He says they will likely publicly urge people to get vaccinated “but they will not put themselves in the spotlight while they are vaccinated.”

Not too personal for royals elsewhere

However, while it may be too personal for this royal family, this type of public health display is not uncommon. In 2016, for example, Prince Harry of the British Royal Family had an HIV test performed on live TV to highlight the importance of testing.

The British royal family has also been very vocal regarding their family’s vaccinations for MMR, and polio vaccinations in 1950.

Even as far back as 1805, Indian queens modelled for the world’s first vaccine to encourage participation in the smallpox vaccination programme, captured in a painting commissioned by the East India Company. Suffice it say, vaccinations aren’t such a personal matter for royalty in the rest of the world.

Do you think the prime minister and Dutch royal family should receive vaccinations publicly? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Feature Image: De minister-president/Wikimedia Commons/CC2.0

Brin Andrews
Brin Andrews
Brin is an avid ice cream eater from the US, calling Amsterdam home since early 2019. As a lover of mountains, life below sea level has been a bit of an adjustment, but she manages to stay afloat with long runs, wine, and frequent travel. Incidentally, these are a few of her favourite topics to write about.


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