THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The Netherlands will start vaccinating 30,000 emergency care workers as soon as possible, the health ministry said on Saturday, as the government comes under fire for lagging other European Union countries in launching immunisations.
The government had previously said its national vaccination campaign would start on Jan. 8, the latest date for any EU country.
The first doses were planned to go to healthcare personnel in homes for the elderly, home care nurses and people working in care homes for the disabled, rather than emergency care workers as well.
However, it was still unclear when these workers would get vaccinated. The ministry said it would give more details on Monday.
Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, unions and hospitals have been pushing for front-line carers to get vaccinated rapidly.
"The concerning situation in urgent care is partly driven by coronavirus related sick leave by care workers," the health ministry said in a statement.
(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Mark Potter)