Contentious debate over Covid vaccinations, lockdown policy expected today
Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Corona Minister Hugo de Jonge will take part in the debate scheduled for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. with the Tweede Kamer about, among other things, the proposed reopening plan which is meant to get the country out of lockdown in five stages, and the Dutch vaccination strategy. Anger and frustration has welled up among many Dutch MPs regarding the current vaccination schedule after the country decided to completely halt the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for people under 60 over a rare, serious side effect of blood clots.
D66 and the PvdA in particular want people younger than 60 to be able to decide for themselves whether they want to take such a risk. Caretaker Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said on Tuesday he had no plans to change the country's current Covid-19 vaccination strategy, and expressed little empathy for the people over 60 who are confused why they have to take a vaccine considered by the Dutch government to be unsafe for younger people.
Over the course of the morning, a Tweede Kamer committee will receive a technical briefing from the GGD, RIVM and the Dutch Health Council about vaccination progress and policy.
Previously, the Tweede Kamer was critical of the government's choice to include actual dates in their five-step gradual reopening plan which is supposed to start on April 28. With earlier roadmaps, parliamentarians expressed frustration that specific dates were included at all when knowing that the schedule could change without warning as the number of coronavirus infections and Covid-19 hospitalizations rise and fall.
The gradual emergence from lockdown could begin on April 28 with the reopening of cafe terraces and more shops, and the elimination of the curfew. It should end by early July when all adult residents have had the opportunity to receive at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine, the government announced on Tuesday. As before, the plan was largely dependant on the newest coronavirus figures that will continue to be evaluated weekly.