Covid-19 vaccination campaign still behind in certain groups
Now that everyone who wanted to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has had the chance to, the attention is now put on boosting the vaccination rate among specific groups.
Around 1.8 million people in the Netherlands have not been vaccinated yet. This could lead to between 16 thousand to 22 thousand hospital admissions and 2,200 to 3,400 ICU admissions, a recent letter to the Tweede Kamer by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge showed.
Three points are important when encouraging people to get vaccinated, behavioral scientist Arie Dijkstra said to NOS, “You have to give someone a reason, it needs to be easy and you need to use social norms because if everyone does it, it’s easier to participate.”
Reasons to not get vaccinated can vary from distrust of the government to skepticism of the long-term consequences of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“We know, in the meantime, that vaccines help incredibly but they do not protect 100 percent against infection. The more people get vaccinated, the more people protect themselves but also prevent the spread”, immunologist Marjolein van Egmond said.
The Health Ministry has been encouraged young people to get vaccinated through various tactics. “With online communication, from live sessions on Instagram to videos targeted towards young people”, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said. Educational institutions have also been urging students to get vaccinated. The University of Groningen, for example, set up a Covid-19 vaccination site where students can walk in without an appointment to get the jab.
Some groups are also harder to reach, for example, undocumented immigrants or migrant workers, due to a language barrier or distrust of authorities.
In the Bible Belt, the number of people who chose to get vaccinated was also lower than in the rest of the country. Some people fear exclusive from their religious community if they get the shot, according to NOS. Several GPs, therefore, decided to vaccinate people behind closed doors.
Among people with a migration background, vaccination rates are also considerably lower. A report by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in May 2021 showed that only around half of people aged 16 and above with a non-western migration background want to get vaccinated. In an initiative to raise vaccination figures, the GGD inoculated people in mosques in Amsterdam Nieuw-West and Zuidoost on Friday.
A website from the Ministry of Health showed locations where people can get vaccinated without an appointment.