First person in the Netherlands vaccinated against Covid-19 at 8:43 a.m.
Update 8:57 - Article updated to add information on the first Covid-19 vaccination done in the Netherlands.
The first coronavirus vaccination in the Netherlands happened at 8:43 a.m. today, an event anticipated for so long it was broadcast live across the country. A 39-year-old nursing home worker, Sanna Elkadiri, was the first person to be vaccinated against the virus at a GGD vaccination site in Veghel. She was given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Elkadiri works in Het Wereldhuis in Boxtel, a nursing home for elderly people with dementia. On Tuesday, she told Dutch media that she is definitely a bit nervous about this long awaited moment. "But it feels very good. The vaccination is finally starting now! We will be able to return to normal soon," she said.
"What a milestone to sit back and enjoy watching this," said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge. “Here in Brabant, where the crisis also started, we are starting to put an end to this crisis," he continued. There is still a long way to go before life can go back to normal, but this is the start, he said.
Andre Rouvoet, chairman of municipal health service umbrella organization GGD GHOR Nederland, spoke before the vaccination. He reflected on the Hart voor Brabant region also being the first place where a Covid-19 infection was discovered at the end of February last year, and now it's the first region to start vaccinating against the virus.
"We have come full circle," Rouvoet said. "Nearly a year ago, this was the place where the first infections took place. And where, in the early phase, the virus wreaked havoc." He said it was fantastic that 75 percent of the Dutch public, including 80 percent of healthcare workers, now want to be vaccinated. "This marks the start of this mega operation. We want to vaccinate the whole of the Netherlands in the coming months."
Jaap van Delden, in charge of vaccinations at public health institute RIVM, said that this marks the start of returning to the "old normal". He thanked everyone who worked together on making these vaccines possible, including the pharmaceutical companies.
The government announced on Monday that vaccinations will start on Wednesday, two days earlier than originally planned. The first in line to be inoculated against Covid-19 are employees of nursing homes and small-scale care homes, such as homes for the disabled.
"We are starting to vaccinate, particularly the nursing home care workers who have suffered so much," De Jonge said.
Hospital and ambulance employees directly involved in Covid care are also among the first to be vaccinated in the coming days.
Halfway through Monday, health service GGD said that it had already scheduled 10 thousand vaccination appointments, which grew to nearly 25 thousand by the end of the day. More information on who will be vaccinated when in the Netherlands can be found here.