The start of vaccination in the Netherlands could have gone more smoothly, says Maarten Tanis, who is responsible for the vaccination program within the GGD Rotterdam-Rijnmond. In an interview with the NRC, he also points out that the GGDs were not instructed by the Ministry of Health until “early December” to help with vaccinations immediately.
This happened after the strategy was changed. “Originally, the strategy was for those at risk to be vaccinated by health and safety or institutional doctors,” Tanis says in the newspaper. This approach proved impractical because of the refrigeration equipment required to store Pfizer vaccines. “For this reason, the ministry decided to first vaccinate the nursing staff at central locations and to give the GGD the job. We now know about this task for about three to four weeks. “
“This is the reality we are dealing with,” says Tanis. The GGDs assumed that it would not be their turn until much later. “We originally wanted to start with the healthy group up to 60 years old in August. the final phase of the vaccination campaign. We have already taken into account that we had to step in and wanted to be prepared for it at the end of January and beginning of February. So it was pulled forward. “
If vaccination has already started in other EU countries, the first injection will be given on January 8th in the Netherlands. Tanis expects to have vaccinated around 15,000 health care providers from his area by the end of February. Abroad he sees that mistakes are sometimes made in logistics or dosing. According to him, this can also happen in the Netherlands. “But we’d rather do it carefully than do things under steam and boiling water that we’re not ready for yet. Then I’ll take care of it from a week on. “