Getting vaccinated as an international

29 Jan 2021

In these unprecedented times, many things are completely new to people and the situation changes every day. When you are an international in Nijmegen, finding out what happens with COVID-19 measures, news and vaccinations can be tricky. Four questions about getting vaccinated as an international.

Since the beginning of this year, people in The Netherlands are getting vaccinated. The government has divided the population into groups and has started with the vaccination of people who work in healthcare. Next in line are the elderly, people with health problems and people who live in a healthcare institution.

For many people, it is still unclear when it’s their turn. This goes especially for many international students and staff. ‘Most of the information about corona is in Dutch,’ says Vicky Luna Velez. She is a researcher at RadboudUMC and she has lived in The Netherlands for ten years. Originally, she is from Peru. Working at the medical center has had its perks up until now. ‘If I need a corona test, I can just go to the hospital,’ she says. ‘But I don’t know if this also means that we get vaccinated earlier, I am neither a nurse nor a doctor of course.’

Hard to say

Velez assumes there is no difference between an international who lives here in The Netherlands and a Dutch person, when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccination programme. ‘But it is hard to say, since nobody has heard anything yet.’

Velez speaks very basic Dutch and if she doesn’t understand something, she can ask her colleagues or husband to translate. But even if you do speak Dutch, it is not always easy to find information about vaccinations and other corona-related matters. After some phone calls, and many people who had to ask their colleague, Vox has found the answers to some of the questions:

Will international students and staff get vaccinated in the Netherlands?
Yes. In the Uitvoeringsrichtlijn COVID-19-vaccinatie (the implementing directive COVID-19 vaccination) it clearly states that everybody who lives in The Netherlands and is registered at the municipality qualifies for it. Even people who don’t live here but stay for longer than a month can get their vaccination through the Dutch programme.

When will people get vaccinated?
Right now, people who live in a healthcare institution are next on the list to get vaccinated. After them, if everything goes according to plan, the programme will be open for people between 18 – 60 with health problems who put them at risk. This will be at the end of March or the beginning of April. People without those urgent medical reasons are last, at the end of April at the earliest.

Where do you go to get vaccinated?
Once it is your turn, you will receive an invitation letter. In this letter, which will probably be in Dutch, you will be told where to go for a vaccination.

How is the Netherlands doing, compared to other countries?
In the EU, most countries have vaccinated a bigger percentage of their population than in The Netherlands. Right now, the only country that has vaccinated a smaller percentage is Bulgaria, with 0,4%. The Dutch percentage is 1% right now. The fastest countries are Malta (4,8%), Denmark (3,7%) and Ireland (2,9%), according to Dutch news broadcaster NOS.

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