Covid-19 has taken over the world, each country is feeling the huge effects of the virus and have been trying to find a solution since the start of the pandemic. Vaccines have often been advertised as the “way out” out of lockdowns and national restrictions. This in turn has resulted in the fast production of many vaccines such as the Pfizer and Oxford vaccine. Many people are rushing to receive the vaccine and some people already have. However, some people are choosing not to be vaccinated for numerous reasons.
This has resulted in approximately 87,000 nurses that have chosen to deny the vaccine in the Netherlands. Furthermore, according to a survey by the FNV trade union, more than one fifth of staff don’t want to be vaccinated for coronavirus. There were 9,000 nursing and care workers surveyed, with one fifth adamant that they did not want the vaccine. The other figures revealed that 13% said they think they wouldn’t choose to receive it and 18% saying that they were in doubt. This comes at the same time that the Netherlands are entering an even tougher lockdown with curfews and more travel bans.
The survey also revealed the reasons why healthcare workers were choosing not to get vaccinated, a lot of the reasons related to doubts of the vaccines safety due to unknown long term side affects. This is because they believe that the vaccine was made at a record speed and used new scientific ways to produce it so quickly. Therefore, they said that there hasn’t been enough evidence on the effects on people after a longer period of time than was used in the medical trials.
This led to the feeling as though because they are one of the first groups of people to be injected with the vaccine, that they were being experimented on, or used as “guinea pigs.” This can be seen by Kitty Jong, vice chairman of the FNV saying “care employees who are not positive about it feel like guinea pigs… These people understand that they work with vulnerable elderly people, but they are also concerned about their own health.” This shows that some people are apprehensive on using the vaccine, especially if they are one of the first groups to receive it.
Health and care workers feel pressured to received it with Kitty Jong also saying that “They don’t want to feel forced, and we support them in that. You cannot force them directly or indirectly.” There is also apprehension as people want to understand more about the vaccine such as more information on what it contains. As she always went on to say that ‘if people do not yet fully understand the information about the vaccine, it is not so much their fault. It may not be properly communicated.” While the ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport are hoping to provide more information on the vaccine with advertisements in the media.
In response to this, Dr Hans Zaaijer professor of microbiology stated that “if you work in an institution with vulnerable people, you can demand that they participate in certain vaccinations. There is no right to be allowed to do that work unvaccinated.” Therefore, people are speculating as to the consequences of choosing not to vaccinate whilst working with vulnerable people but the repercussions are unclear at this time.