Man arrested for trying to buy murder of doctor behind leftover Covid vaccine distribution
On Wednesday, the police arrested a man suspected of offering money to kill a doctor-in-training in Utrecht. The doctor, Bernard Leenstra, reported this on Twitter. He wrote on Wednesday morning that he was called by the detective, who "took a person from his bed." NU.nl, which reported previously about this case, said it had seen additional evidence.
Leenstra tweets a lot about the importance of vaccines and is also one of the initiators of prullenbakvaccin.nl, a platform that brings together GPs with leftover vaccines and people who want to be vaccinated. The Midden-Nederland police only said that a 21-year-old man from Hoeksche Waard (Zuid-Holland) was arrested on Wednesday for online incitement and threats. "We cannot and will not confirm anything in relation to persons," said a spokeswoman. The investigation into this suspect started last year, and an extensive digital analysis was carried out. Police are also unable to say anything about the target of the threats.
The site prullenbakvaccin.nl is an initiative of several doctors, including Leenstra. They map leftover Covid-19 vaccines daily and link healthcare providers and potential vaccine recipients. "Because any vaccine that goes into the trash unused is one too many," the site states.
The National Association of General Practitioners (LHV) called the incident "horrible and unacceptable. No healthcare provider should experience this. We hear from general practitioners that they regularly have to deal with intimidating behavior and aggression from patients. What happened to Bernard Leenstra can't even be called aggression any longer. This is a pure threat."
According to a survey by LHV among over 400 GPs at the end of last year, many GPs are confronted with aggression. One-third of those surveyed said they experienced intimidating behavior and aggression from patients in the past month. Two-thirds said it happened to a staff member from the practice.
A spokeswoman for the LHV emphasized that this concerns aggression from patients. "That cannot be compared with what happened with Leenstra." She, therefore, cannot say how often threats independent of patient contacts - such as a stone thrown through a window or a vandalized practice - occur.
Reporting by ANP