On Tuesday 2 November 2021, new Covid-19 measures were announced by the demissionary cabinet. According to André den Exter, Associate Professor of Health Law at Erasmus School of Law, these measures are insufficient to change vaccination coverage: “far-reaching measures are necessary to increase the vaccination coverage". Den Exter points at checking QR-codes at work or in higher education as an example of these far-reaching measures in his column in NRC.
The current vaccination coverage in the Netherlands is causing many problems. Too much regular care is being postponed because of unvaccinated patients that end up on the intensive care. This postponed care leads to medical complications. In addition, the medical personnel are overworked, and daycare facilities might come to a close.
If it were up to Den Exter, voluntary vaccinations must always remain the norm, and individual choices must always be respected. But he does also think that choices should have consequences. “Building up pressure for the unvaccinated is necessary and justified because of the importance of public health”, says Den Exter.
Den Exter points to implementing QR-codes at work and in higher education as ways to build up this pressure. However, these measures can not suddenly be implemented: “this requires a basis in a law, just like every other non-compliance with the constitution”, says Den Exter. He considers changes in the Dutch Law for Public Health as the most reasonable option. This law has been changed in the past for allowing a Covid-19 certificate in cafés and restaurants, sports activities and events.
"Enforcement of this measure could be problematic, because law officers have insufficient capacity to check every company. That is why employers and employees should take responsibility to address irresponsible behaviour of unvaccinated people", according to Den Exter.
"It is possible that this measure would make people leave education or healthcare. They do, however, make way for a safe working, living and learning environment for others", according to Den Exter.