Cabinet: No immediate “fully vaccinated” declaration until after two-week wait
The Dutch government has decided to only declare people as “fully vaccinated” so they can attend events without a negative coronavirus test once it has been two weeks since their last Covid-19 vaccine shot. Thus far, people have been given instant access to events immediately after a single shot of the Janssen Vaccine, a single shot of any vaccine after a recent coronavirus infection, or the second dose of any Covid-19 vaccine, Nu.nl and NOS reported.
A two-week waiting period has long been recommended following the final Covid-19 vaccine dose to give the recipient maximum protection.
The Cabinet made the decision on Tuesday after a surge in coronavirus infections since July 1, five days after most coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands were abandoned. That included the obligation to wear face masks inside public indoor spaces. It also permitted nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and event organizers to open their doors to full capacity if all attendees showed proof of a negative coronavirus test, recovery from the infection, or a Covid-19 vaccination certificate.
Caretaker Health Minister Hugo de Jonge has previously defended the approach to allowing people instant access to events after their last vaccine shot. He said at the time that "a sensible trade-off has been made between the health risk and what is practically doable". De Jonge also thought that granting immediate access would encourage more people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 faster.
A QR code could be generated as evidence from within the government’s CoronaCheck app. However, thousands of people were wrongly given a code as proof they were vaccinated. Problems with testing to access the events also caused delays, with at least one test site giving people a negative test result before they even took a test as compensation for their patience.
Catering businesses were linked to a coronavirus super-spreader incident in Enschede, and coronavirus clusters have developed with the catering industry in Maastricht and other parts of the country.
On Tuesday, Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus placed some of the blame from the rise in coronavirus infections on event organizers and catering businesses. He said they should check more closely to see if people were properly presenting the correct information, and some businesses carried out no checks at all.
Failure to do their part could lead to another shut down of clubs, bars, cafes and other businesses, he said. "Otherwise you will get the same as last September," Grapperhaus stated. "The system is good", he said. "But then you have to follow the rules."