Vaccination in the Netherlands against coronavirus – what has happened in the last four months?

On January 6th, 2021 the Netherlands started the vaccination against coronavirus, with some delay with respect to other European countries. The ambition was in any case very high, expecting to have given the first dose of corona vaccines to the whole population >18 before July 1st.
Now, four months later, what is the situation with respect to the planning?

Stand van de zaken – the current situation

As per today, May 6th, almost 6 million doses have been administered, including first and second doses.
The partition of the two was 4.4 millions and 1.2 millions for the first and second doses on May 2nd, and it can thus give an idea of the proportions between the two.

How does it compare with expectations?

The absolute number of vaccinations gives something that is quite difficult to relate.
If you think that the population of the Netherlands is about 14 millions (really roughly counting, subtracting the youngers below 18 yo from the whole population – based on data from CBS), that comes to about 30% of the population above 18 having got the first shot, and almost 10% fully vaccinated.
But how does it compare with expectation? In January the scheme below was made public by the government (and you can find a tentative scheduling here).

vaccination against coronavirus
Expected vaccination scheme (published January 2021)

I went through the scheme of the vaccinations initially provided, trying to compare the expected and effective starting date for the vaccinations in the different groups. It’s not an easy task, as details about some groups are difficult to find, but it gives an idea of how this is proceeding.

Residents of nursery houses or of other small
organizations in the healthcare sector
18.01January 2021
People born in 1955 or earlier (>65 y.o.)
who live at home and are mobile
from oldest to youngest
March 2021
(>60 y.o.)
People >18 with high risk medical condition15.02Februrary 2021
Mental healthcare inpatients22.02
Visiting nurses and social support providers02.03
People who live at home and are not mobile06.04
People >18 with other medical conditionsnext in line
Starting date vaccinations per risk group – realized vs expected

Healthcare personnel does not appear in the timeline on the Coronadashboard. There is a scheme with the planning available on the website of the government, but I couldn’t find updates on the implementation of the scheme. The vaccination of workers in the acute care (intensive care, ambulances, emergency rooms) has started, but for what concerns other healthcare providers in direct contact with patients at the hospitals, the expected starting date is May 2021 (first planning was April 2021). More info here.

When will you get a vaccination against coronavirus?

Curious about when you will get a vaccination? Do the test on the website of the government. Based on your residence, whether you work in the healthcare, your age and your health conditions, you will get information concerning your (expected) time window for the vaccination. Below you can see the outcome of the test I did. It seems I will get an invitation around the end of June.
(You will also see which vaccinations you may get!)

My results from the test online about vaccination.

Some personal closing thoughts

During the last press conference (20.04), the relaxation of some measures against the spread of coronavirus was announced. In response to some concerns, Minister De Jonge said that the vaccinations are expected to balance out the reopening in the fight against the spreading.
In fact, the optimistic plan of reopening has been slowed down (postponing the press conference that was expected on May 3rd to next week) because the hospitals are still too busy to allow any increase in the number of infections.

The initial planning of having the whole population >18 having their first dose of vaccine against coronavirus by July 1st is in my opinion too far to be achieved.
I see that new vaccines are being approved (like the one of Johnson & Johnson), and also that the speed of vaccination is going up (by now an injection is provided every 0.4 seconds in the Netherlands).
Also, if my age group will start making appointments around the end of June, then probably it won’t be the turn of everybody before July 1st.
But was it the case, I’d be sooo happy! Today I have taken a walk around in the city center (Eindhoven), and it was the first time it seemed to be itself again. People having a drink on the terrace of restaurants and bars, people shopping. The whole city seemed to be live again after more than 5 (!!!) months of closure.
We won’t easily or soon get rid of social distancing, sanitizing gel and face masks, but this gives already a very good feeling!

Useful websites

  • coronadashboard (updated daily, includes also other information besides numbers about vaccinations)
  • RIVM page about vaccinations (updated weekly)

Featured image by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

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