Young people citing fake medical conditions to get an early jab, GGD hardly checks
Dozens of young people in the Netherlands were able to get a Covid-19 shot earlier than they were supposed to because they falsely stated they had an underlying medical condition, newspaper Volkskrant reported. The GGD vaccination centres, which only sporadically check if these statements are genuine, said they would not adjust their methods as the ultimate goal for them is to vaccinate as many people as possible.
In the Netherlands, the order in which residents are administered shots is mostly determined by age. Exceptions are made in cases of people with serious medical conditions as they are more vulnerable to developing more severe cases of Covid-19, and those in a handful of professional roles that make them more likely to get a coronavirus infection.
Both when making the appointment and once in the vaccination centre, people who claimed their early shots due to medical conditions were not asked to demonstrate proof of the medical indication they cited. After the conversations it had with young people, Volkskrant reported that tips on how to get an appointment much ahead of time were shared in numerous messaging service WhatsApp groups.
According to a student from Amsterdam who spoke to the newspaper, this is done to avoid excessive costs of PCR tests prior to travelling. A 28-year old former student said that long waiting times prompted him to look for an alternative way to get the jab.“I held out for more than a year not to get a coronavirus. I don't want to risk getting infected in extra time,“ he said.
Some students also claimed to have used the trick in order to prevent empty slots in the vaccination process. “There are many people who are afraid of the vaccine and don't take it. In this way, I help to speed up the pace of vaccination. I'm taking over a spot from someone who doesn't sign up and that can't hurt.“
A spokesperson for the GGD said it was 'very annoying' that people were not obeying the vaccination priority order, but called it a 'calculated risk'. “We assume that vaccination is for the best. The system is easily accessible so that we can quickly vaccinate many people.“
Some 1.8 million people in the Netherlands were able to fairly claim an early vaccine appointment, mainly heart, diabetes and asthma patients.