78,000 appointments for Janssen vaccine made on first day
On the first day that appointments for Janssen vaccines were open to all adult Netherlands residents, 78 thousand people managed to get an appointment for a shot. A total of 222 thousand people made 5.3 million calls to health service GGD to try and get an appointment, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said on Twitter.
With Janssen vaccines opening to all Netherlands residents, it is the first time that people in the Netherlands get a say in what vaccine they get. Up until Wednesday, vaccines against Covid-19 were administered on a "you get what you get" basis.
Due to the massive number of calls, the GGD appointment line was down for some time on Wednesday. "We were overwhelmed by the amount of callers," Jaap Donker of GGD GHOR Nederland said to NOS. The GGD had 3,500 people man the phone lines. "But this is force majeure, we hear from people who called us 500 times. We cannot put more people on the line. Our system cannot cope with these kinds of huge peaks."
All appointments will be made in the coming days, Donker said. "But don't call all at once."
The biggest upside of the Janssen vaccine is that it requires only one dose, unlike the other approved vaccines that require two shots for optimal protection against Covid-19. The Janssen shot is therefore popular among people who are eager to get fully vaccinated so that they can travel abroad this summer.
The Janssen vaccine is somewhat less effective than those that require two shots, but still protects against serious illness or death from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.