Coronavirus vaccination registry to be voluntary
Health Minister Hugo de Jonge detailed his plans on how to roll out the coronavirus vaccine in a letter to the Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday. The first injection will take place on January 8. The municipal public health services GGD will be in charge of administering the vaccines. The first local sites will be opened in the GGD regions of Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Utrecht, and Hart voor Brabant, which includes Den Bosch and Tilburg. All 25 vaccination sites are scheduled to be operational by January 18.
People who receive the coronavirus vaccine will only enter the central vaccination register if they consent—this register records who has been vaccinated and with which vaccine. The Dutch public health agency RIVM can then monitor whether a vaccine is effective and safe. The system will be ready for use at the end of December, and people will be able to view their own vaccination data from the end of March.
In his letter, de Jonge writes that “since this vaccination program is of an unprecedented scope and complexity in the Netherlands, I consider proper registration essential in order to maintain a good overview of the safety and effectiveness of the individual vaccines at a national and regional level.”
It has not yet been determined whether registration can serve as a vaccination certificate. The cabinet is afraid that, for example, companies will ask their staff for such proof. De Jonge is waiting for advice from the Health Council on this before an official decision will be made. He wants to know whether the government should prevent private parties from asking for proof of vaccination.
He writes that “the cabinet is also not in support of favoring people who get vaccinated over people who don’t get vaccinated. The importance of public health and individual interests can be at odds with each other there.”
The timeline for the upcoming months is also outlined in his letter to Parliament. It is expected that all nursing home employees will be vaccinated by mid-March with the Pfizer vaccine that was approved on Monday. This concerns 250,000 people who will receive their first dose in January or February and their second dose in February or March.
About 350 to 400 municipal health workers will be needed for this first round of vaccination. According to de Jonge, there is enough personnel to carry out his plans. If necessary, the Ministry of Defense has a thousand medically trained professionals ready to assist with subsequent vaccinations.