Hospitals want priority in Covid vaccination to prevent healthcare disaster
Hospitals are urgently calling on the Dutch government to give essential hospital staff priority in getting vaccinated against the coronavirus. Vaccinations must start as soon as possible "to prevent social disruption caused by a healthcare infarction", Ad Melkert of the Dutch association of hospitals NvZ said, NOS and NU.nl report.
According to the current plans, care workers in nursing homes, disabled care, and community nursing will get the first vaccines. But according to Melkert, if essential hospital workers aren't added to that list, the Netherlands will face "an unprecedented emergency".
"The Netherlands is already beyond the limit of the available capacity for necessary care," Melkert said. Getting hospital workers vaccinated must therefore have "top priority".
On Wednesday, Diederik Gommers and Ernst Kuipers, the Netherlands' leading experts in intensive care, also called for frontline workers in hospitals to be given priority for Covid-19 vaccines. “We believe that in healthcare, especially in situations where the pressure will remain very high for a long time to come, it is crucial that staff remains available to provide care," Kuipers said.
But according to the Ministry of Public Health, there is currently too few vaccines available to add another group to the priority list. "Not everyone can sit in the front of the bus. In the first phase there is a limited number of vaccines in stock," a spokesperson for the Ministry said to NU.nl.
Hans van Vliet, program manager of the coronavirus vaccinations at public health institute RIVM, told NOS that it is "logistically" possible to vaccinate essential care personnel earlier, but added that "whether that choice should be made is a political consideration".