Hundreds of thousands of internationals in the Netherlands won’t receive a vaccine

Currently, you will only receive a coronavirus vaccine in the Netherlands if you are registered at your local municipality. This will prove to be problematic for many migrant workers in the Netherlands.

According to an investigation by the Investico Platform at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, migrant workers who are not registered will not be able to receive a vaccination appointment for the time being, Trouw writes.

What is registration in the Netherlands?

When you first move to the Netherlands, and you plan on staying for more than four months, you must register at your local municipality. In doing this, your data is entered into the Personal Records Database (PRD) and you receive a Burgerservicenummer (BSN.)

READ MORE| Registration in the Netherlands: the complete guide [2021]

Your local municipality then uses your information to keep tabs on things such as your taxes or your health insurance. In coronavirus times, they will use this information to determine how and when you should be vaccinated.

Migrant workers in the Netherlands

There are hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in the Netherlands, with many working in professions that put them at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus. On top of this, many of the workers live together. This means that the risk of an outbreak is significant amongst this group of workers.

However, many of these workers are not registered at their local municipality. If so, they will not be offered a vaccine, at least for now.

Doctors worried

GPs have expressed worry over the decision to not offer vaccines to unregistered migrant workers. GGD doctor Ashis Brahma tells Trouw that it makes sense to include migrant workers in the Dutch vaccine strategy — and sooner rather than later. “Migrant workers are extra vulnerable to coronavirus because they live and work closely together and are often transported together,” she says.

Virologist Bert Niesters worries that by not offering vaccines to these workers, society at large would be put at risk. He says that by excluding this group “you keep a reservoir for the virus. The goal should simply be to vaccinate everyone in the Netherlands who wants to,” he tells Trouw.

Workers’ Union outraged

Vice President of the FNV Trade Union, Kitty Jong, says that this decision “shows how in the Netherlands labour migrants are still too often viewed as second-class citizens.” She points out that “these people often work in crucial professions. They deserve the same protection as anyone else.”

While there are a large number of migrant workers who aren’t registered at their local municipality, most will still take out health insurance. Niesters says that this is enough of a reason to offer them a vaccine.

What are your thoughts on this decision? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: Mika Baumeister/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.


  1. Uiteraard iedereen inenten. Wat een onzin om ook hieraan weer een voorwaarde te hangen. Het algemene risico te verlagen en de menselijke “goodwill” zijn het zeker waard!


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