Netherlands becomes last EU country to start coronavirus vaccinations
Wednesday, 06 January 2021
The Hague, the Netherlands
The Netherlands has launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign on Wednesday, making it the last European Union country to start vaccinating its population.
Workers in health care and small care facilities (such as those for people with disabilities) will be the first to be vaccinated. A 39-year-old nursing home employee in Veghel (in the province of North Brabant, which borders on Belgium) received the first jab.
The Dutch government has brought forward the launch of its vaccination campaign by several days, after severe criticism for its slowness.
Mistakes were made and the authorities should have been better prepared for the mass vaccination campaign, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte admitted. For example, some 280,000 available doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine were not immediately put to use.
The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is currently the only one authorised for use in the EU, though that could change on Wednesday as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to issue an advice on the coronavirus developed by Moderna later in the day.
Belgium’s vaccination campaign, which officially began on Tuesday, was also criticised for its slow start, but Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke promised on Tuesday to speed up the Covid-19 vaccinations as early as next week.