Dutch health service exploring Covid vaccinations without appointment
Health service GGD is exploring whether it can allow Covid-19 vaccination without appointment at its locations, in an attempt to get the vaccination rate up. The vaccination rate in the Netherlands has been slowing down for four weeks, despite willingness to get vaccinated still being high.
"We want to create the space at our locations to be able to come in without an appointment. We have already looked at whether that would work in the country and we see that it works out well for some people," Jaap Donker, director of public health at GGD Utrecht, said to NU.nl.
Other regional branches of the GGD are also working on this, he said. The idea is that not having to call to make an appointment, or book one online, will make vaccination more accessible. People can pop in to get their shot when they have a gap to do so, instead of having to plan it into their schedule.
Around 1.23 million Covid-19 vaccines were administered in the Netherlands last week, over a third lower than a month earlier despite public willingness to get vaccinated being in the range of 89 to 95 percent. The Ministry of Public Health told NL Times that it was working on different ways to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, including a new marketing campaign.
GGD Utrecht is also focusing on battling misinformation around the vaccines, and hopes that vaccination without appointment can also play a role in that. "It helps to have a doctor or nurse there who can inform people well. We will facilitate that," Donker said to NU.nl.
The healthcare expert thinks that if people can get real information from the healthcare professionals they may choose to get vaccinated right away once their fears have been addressed.
Donker is the interim Public Health Director at the GGD. He is leaving his role, and will become the head of the Utrecht Security Region on November 1.