Potential Covid-19 outbreaks could come thanks to the re-opening of the education sector
By Meike Hertsenberg
Hospital staff are worried that any rise in Coronavirus cases in the Netherlands will overwhelm already struggling hospitals, and now higher education institutions have also opened their doors again, the number of Covid-19 cases is at risk of rapidly increasing in the next few weeks. The low vaccination rate among younger people is seemingly also playing an important role in this.
The RIVM reports that the vaccination rate among people aged 18 to 24 is 57 per cent now. David Jongen, chairman of the Zuyderland Hospital in Limburg, states: “90 per cent of the people being admitted to hospitals are the ones who haven’t received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.” Despite the universities’ best efforts to promote these vaccinations to young adults, the vaccination rates have been stagnating, according to data published by the RIVM.
The advent of any potential new Covid-19 outbreak could put hospitals in a grim situation. “We are headed for a series of bad events that will bring routine hospital activities to a standstill,” Zuyderland says. He is asking the Cabinet to reinvigorate vaccinations campaigns and to push back further relaxations of the prevailing coronavirus measures.
Primary schools and secondary schools have been open for a few weeks now. This development is reflected in the latest Covid-19 data: 12.5 per cent of last week’s coronavirus cases are traced back to schools and day-cares. The week before this percentage was only 3.5.
Percentage of Covid-19 cases originating in schools and day-cares. Source: RIVM
Timen, from the RIVM, states that it will be a matter of time to determine if the re-opening of the higher education sector will exacerbate the number of Covid-19 cases. “We will be entering the seasons of Autumn and Winter with high Covid-19 numbers even though we know the virus thrives in these particular seasons.”
Anyone wishing to get a Coronavirus vaccine, for free, should contact their local GGD health service
This submitted piece was written by RUG Journalism MA student Meike Hertsenberg, 22, from Groningen.