Netherlands calls in the troops to bolster booster shots and tests

Talk about calling in the big guns (although, thankfully, not literally). The Dutch Ministry of Defense has been asked to help with administering booster vaccines and tests.

And boy, is it about time! The Netherlands currently sits at the very bottom of the ranks in terms of how many people have received their booster. Time for some tough love. 💪

About 750 soldiers will arm themselves with needles or test kits. They’ll be trained by doctors to administer vaccinations in the coming weeks, but from today, will assist with coronavirus tests after the recent wave of infections left test centres overflowing.

If infections worsen, the operation can be scaled up to include 1,500 military personnel, reports the NOS.

A slow start, now a hard push

The military is not the only way the Dutch are jump-starting their (lacking) booster shot campaign. A group of general practitioners are campaigning their plan to vaccinate more than 100,000 immobile people at home before the holidays.

Meanwhile, the GGD (Municipal Health Service) says that the National Acute Care Network (LNAZ), the Red Cross, the National Association of General Practitioners (LHV), healthcare institutions and other umbrella organisations are also stepping in to kick the booster process into gear. Retired general practitioners will also be asked to don their white coats once more.

READ MORE | Weekly update: infections rise slightly, while deaths skyrocket

There are also calls to utilise other resources in the booster campaign. “Once again, the thousands of nurses who work in district nursing could make an important contribution to booster vaccinations,” says Jos de Blok of Buurtzorg Nederland.

Sorely needed

The Netherlands is currently only offering booster shots to select groups: people aged 80 and over, adults living in care facilities, and patient-facing healthcare and social support workers.

Once these groups have received their jabs, other groups will be invited for their next shot. However, with the current COVID-19 crisis the government is facing and the impending holiday season, the government has stepped on the gas to administer booster shots faster, leaving fewer vaccinated people in the hospital.

What do you think about the actions taken to speed up the booster shot process? Is it enough? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Ministry of Defence/CC4.0

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.


  1. I can’t understand why we can’t just go to one of the free vaccination sites/tents and ask for our 3rd shot. The places are not even busy! Making people wait longer just increases the risks to the overfull hospitals and the people in the Netherlands.

    • Yes, this! We had a mobile vax van in our neighborhood every weekend for about 2 months. No appt necessary and they weren’t even busy, and yet we couldn’t get boosters. I wondered that every time I walked by. Seems like you could just send vans out to lots of neighborhoods and this would also help people not have to go so far or take OV and risk exposure plus not to congregate at one big vax center.


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