79% of Dutch support lockdown extension; 82% will get Covid vaccine
A new study released on Tuesday showed that 79 percent of the Dutch public said they would find it justifiable if the hard lockdown would continue for another month. The lockdown, put in place on December 15 after a surge in coronavirus infections, was predicted to last at least until January 19.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge were expected to extend that period by another three weeks. That would move the end date to February 9, though there was speculation that primary schools could reopen as early as January 25.
Some 72 percent said they support the Cabinet’s current coronavirus policy, according to the survey commissioned by NOS and carried out by I&O Research. Ot the 2,193 people surveyed, 61 percent said they thought there was justification to make the lockdown even stricter, while 16 percent wanted the restrictions loosened up or outright cancelled.
“Seven in ten are optimistic about the coming year because there is now a vaccine. And 45 percent expect that thanks to the vaccine we will soon be able to lead a normal life again. People understand the need for the lockdown, because there is light at the end of the tunnel," the researchers told the broadcaster. A majority of supporters from all political parties agreed with the lockdown, except for those backing the far right FVD.
Nearly 1,800 respondents, or 82 percent, told the researchers that they planned on getting vaccinated against Covid-19. That was up from 75 percent a week ago, suggesting that more of the undecideds have been convinced that the vaccine is the best way forward. Over the past two months, those who “definitely” want to be inoculated against the disease rose from 43 to 63 percent, NOS reported.
Those whose opinions in favor of vaccination have evolved over time said they were more convinced the vaccine was safe and effective, and that they do not want to cause someone else to get sick. Others also feared missing out on participating in events or traveling, or being excluded from care.
The public was also largely confident in four health professionals whose expert opinions are commonly featured by the news media. Intensive care leader Diederik Gommers was polling at 82 percent and the Erasmus Medical Center director and acute care expert Ernst Kuipers won 77 percent of support.
Their colleague at Erasmus, the esteemed virologist Marion Koopmans, held a 72 percent approval rating. Jaap van Dissel, the director of the RIVM, trailed behind her with 67 percent. The entire GGD system of municipal health providers had a 74 percent approval rating. The organization is managing over two dozen mass vaccination locations in the Netherlands.
About 65 percent of respondents said they supported Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s approach to the crisis. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge slipped to 57 percent.