ROBIN UTRECHT

Health Agency launches catch-up days for holidaymakers missing vaccine appointment

The corona vaccination campaign and holidays are not happy bedfellows.  Numerous are the people who discover a proposed vaccination appointment clashes with their holiday plans.

“We are experiencing more and more problems with people eager to delay their vaccination appointment” says Dirk Dewolf of the Care and Health Agency.  “Up to a point we are able to deal with issues caused by appointments for second shots planned at the height of the holiday season.  We are introducing catch-up days at the end of August and the start of September.

The date of the second shot is not set in stone, but says Dewolf “at the end of the day you can’t keep postponing it.  On an organisational level, even on catch-up days, there will be little choice.”

“Because more and more people are seeking a delay, more and more invitations are being dispatched. As a result some people are unable to find a free slot.”

Vaccinations can’t be organised around the clock because of limited vaccine supplies.

“Supplies are not on schedule: supplies of the Janssen vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson are in limbo.  There are delays with Pfizer and fewer deliveries of the Oxford vaccine from AstraZeneca. All available doses are administered very quickly.”

Trading your appointment with a friend or acquaintance is not an option.

“Everybody gets a personalised code.  Swapping requires a complicated operation at the vaccination centre.  They are already struggling to meet all the demands” says Dewolf.

Dirk Dewolf also asks for understanding for the organisational challenges: “This crisis has been under way for seventeen months.  Millions of people are in the queue.  Try to plan your holiday and get your first jab.  It provides protection against serious complications after several weeks.”

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