GPs, specialists, and their interest groups want vaccination campaigns targeting people in disadvantaged neighborhoods. They are concerned about the low turnout in these neighborhoods. The initiators of the letter to the Ministry of Health are Shakib Sana, General Practitioner in Rotterdam, and Robin Peters, internist at Erasmus MC.
According to doctors, the important information about vaccines does not reach about 35 percent of the population. They do not understand or receive information provided at press conferences related to Coronavirus by outgoing Prime Minister Rota and Minister De Jong.
This is very noticeable in deprived neighborhoods. The chance of getting infected is 2 times higher. The chance of dying from Covid-19 doubles as compared to others. And they warn that low vaccination coverage could – in the long term – lead to a “virus reservoir”, where infections would continue again.
“The participation rate is only 30 percent.”
General Practitioner Sana noticed that many of his patients did not show up for the vaccination appointment. Participation rate ranges from 30 to 40 percent. He is very worried about this, because it is precisely in disadvantaged neighborhoods that the chance of getting seriously ill is high. Conditions like diabetes, diabetes, lung disease, and obesity are relatively common there.
Changes in vaccination policy, for example around the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, have led to major concerns and doubts, according to Sana. “People are also receiving information from one side of their environment, which makes them suspicious and anxious. I’m trying to change their minds, but this takes 45 minutes for every patient. I don’t have that time.”
Negative influence on social media
“Many of these people get their information from social media and are completely misled as a result,” says Sana. “They think, for example, that a vaccine will make them sterile.”
So he and his fellow physicians want to launch a nationwide public campaign targeting local media and hard-to-reach populations. They want reliable information to be spread in clubs and community centers, as well as in social shelters, migrant organizations, churches, mosques, asylum centers and, for example, frequently visited markets.
They also suggest that figureheads from the local community talk about their vaccination.