Dutch doctor forced to bin 60 doses of vaccine due to no-shows

A Dutch doctor has been left frustrated as he had to throw away 60 syringes full of the AstraZeneca vaccine last night. The GP had arranged for a catch-up evening of vaccinations because there had been such a low turnout two weeks prior.

Dr Marco Blanker sent out 250 invites to receive the vaccine and prepared accordingly by filling a number of syringes in advance. However, only 72 people showed up. The remaining 60 prepared syringes had to be dumped into the bin.

Less than expected

Dr Blanker had hoped to counteract the low turnout his practice in Zwolle experienced two weeks ago after the decision was made to only administer the injection to over 60s. “Two weeks ago we had our big injection day,” he tells RTL Nieuws, “we had a big no-show then.”

Last night, Dr Blanker had hoped to make up for the poor turnout experienced two weeks ago. The practice had taken the possibility of a low turnout into account when preparing the doses but even fewer people than expected showed.

The doctor took to twitter to express his frustration over the worrying number of over 60s who are refusing the vaccine.

Dr Blanker tweeted in response to the Ministry of Health Welfare and Sport after they heard that he had vaccines left over at his practice. He said that he had received no help from the ministry in trying to reallocate the doses and shared a photo of discarded syringes.

“No help from the VWS (Ministry). Tonight’s results: see this photo. And this was while we had been very conservative with our preparation,” the tweet read.

A conservative amount

It takes 15 minutes to take a dose of the vaccine from the bottle into the syringe. Doctors have to be slow and ensure no air bubbles get in. As a result, many practices will prepare the syringes in advance so that the process will be much quicker.

Unfortunately, due to an even lower turnout than expected, this meant that Dr Blanker and his staff had prepared 60 doses too many. These doses could not be put back in the fridge as it is against regulation — meaning they had to be binned unless he could find someone else to take them.

However, GPs are currently at risk of being fined if they give the vaccine to anyone under the age of 60. Dr Blanker expressed his frustration to RTL Nieuws, “we have a group that wants to be vaccinated and is aware of the risks, and we cannot vaccinate them under the threat of the high fines. We are not going to take that risk.”

What are your thoughts on this situation? Tell us in the comments below.

Feature Image: Mat Napo/Unsplash

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I’m 67 with heart and lung conditions and can’t even get a first dose. Hoezo if you’re over 60 you can get the vaccine? Something seems fishy here.

  2. It’s frustrating. I am back at work on the salon with no vaccine and I want one. Something needs to be done.

  3. I would have done anything to take the dose including the risk of being an under 60 woman! Why would they not just open vaccinations up now?!?

  4. 15min for a dose? Is this correct? In other countries, the nurse prepares the dose in front of the patient, in around 30 seconds or so.

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