A year after coronavirus: Dutch say they’re tired and lack confidence in vaccination policy
With the Netherlands facing the one-year mark of the coronavirus crisis, people are tired and yearn for more social contacts. This was established in a survey conducted by the EenVandaag opinion panel. It also appears that people in the Netherlands have little faith in the country's vaccination policy. They further think that it is high time that the cabinet gave more priority to the consequences for the economy and well-being.
With 30,000 panel members, the opinion panel looked back on the past corona year and forward to a way out of the crisis. The most striking result among panel members is the low confidence in the Dutch vaccination policy. Only a third of those surveyed (37 percent) say they have confidence in the process. The majority, 61 percent, don't.
The road ahead
Too late, too slow, and too messy is the opinion of many respondents about the vaccination policy. There is too much listening to all kinds of interest groups who demand priority, which further complicates the vaccination policy's implementation.
One participant says: "I cannot explain it to friends abroad. It seems as if decisions are taken ad hoc every day, the grand plan behind it does not seem to be there. There does not seem to be a decisive director."
The low confidence is especially remarkable because the participants completed the survey in the week in which the millionth injection was taken. While the vaccination campaign seems to be gaining momentum, the image remains poor.
People want to be vaccinated en masse (76 percent). They see it as the key to a more normal life, something they look forward to after a year of persistence.
Support for hard intervention
EenVandaag measured support for the government's approach throughout the corona year. For almost a year, the majority of those questioned agreed with the measures taken by the cabinet. During the first wave in April 2020, confidence in the approach was even sky high (79 percent). The respondents appreciated the cabinet's tough intervention during the first lockdown. The feeling that the coronavirus could be quickly overcome if the people "put their shoulders together" was still prevalent at the time.
When the infections rose again in the second wave, many were irritated by the wait-and-see attitude of the cabinet. In October, confidence in the corona approach was at an all-time low (47 percent). But when the cabinet acted hard again with a new lockdown, the skepticism disappeared and confidence returned.
Need to do better
But since January 2021, corona-fatigue has increased and confidence has hovered around 50 percent. In this week, in which the cabinet announced a package of easing, it remains at 47 percent. Many people cite the faltering vaccination policy as the main reason for their moderate confidence in the overall approach to the corona crisis.
Viewed over the year, two protagonists get a low pass. Prime Minister Mark Rutte does the 'best' with a score of 5.8. RIVM director Jaap van Dissel received a 5.5 for his contribution. Minister Hugo de Jonge, responsible for vaccination, scores the lowest with a 5.2. "It is also difficult that those vaccines are not delivered. Eventually, it will work, but for now, he has to do better", says a panel member.
A year of the coronavirus has a significant impact on the mental health of the participants. Almost half (43 percent) say they feel worse now than a year ago. We are tired of enduring all the limitations, the lack of social contacts, not being able to hug someone, not having work, not going to school. "No distractions like the gym, the movie or the pub. I exist, but I'm not really alive anymore."
Only 5 percent feel better than last year. Half (51 percent) still feel about the same as before the pandemic. This group cites that they try to make the best of the situation and with what is still allowed. But they, too, are eagerly looking forward to a more normal life. "I try to adjust with every measure, but I've been over it since November."