On Tuesday, a large, blue tent was erected on the EUR campus, in front of the Spar supermarket. Anyone who does not have a vaccination appointment yet can get vaccinated on the spot. A few students are talking to the GGD staff on hand or are queueing to get vaccinated.
On Tuesday, 67 people were vaccinated here, which is quite a significant number for such a small pop-up vaccination centre, says regional coordinator Mark Egberts, who is in charge of all the pop-up vaccination centres in Rotterdam-Noord. “At present our main focus is on schools, because vaccination rates are low there. There are several reasons for this. First, many students think it’s not important [for them], and secondly, we’re often told that going to a proper centre is too much of a hassle.”
Woudestein campus gets a temporary vaccination site
Students and staff will be able to get vaccinated against the coronavirus on campus…
Fainting out of fear
Mark does not believe that easy access to the vaccine is stopping people from making a well-considered decision. “We seek to provide people with information rather than convince them. We have several spokespeople walking around the campus, who ask students if they have been vaccinated yet. If they haven’t, we offer them the opportunity to get their jab here. We tell them about the potential side effects and answer any questions they may have. I think the vaccine itself has not caused many problems. Rather it’s its bad reputation that does. Due to the stories that have been reported in the media, people are scared. As a result, they faint out of fear – not because of the vaccine.”
“When students get vaccinated here, we ask them why they are getting vaccinated here and why they didn’t get vaccinated before,” Mark goes on to say. “So when we hear them say that going to a proper vaccination centre is too much hassle for them, we know that vaccinating people on campus works. If they indicate that it’s mostly because they have some concerns about the vaccine itself, we focus on providing them with information.”
Beatriz Sponciado is from Brazil and is doing a degree in International Business Administration. As soon as she saw on Instagram that a mobile vaccination site had been erected on campus, she decided to avail herself of the opportunity. “I’ve been wanting to get vaccinated for some time, but I didn’t have the opportunity in Brazil. If I hadn’t been able to do it on campus, I would have tried to locate an actual vaccination centre, but this is a lot easier. By the way, which vaccine did I get? Pfizer, right?”
“I think it’s brilliant,” says Danny Bos, who is doing a master degree in Behavioural Economics. “If we want to get our vaccination rates up, we must make it really easy for people to get the vaccine. I had my jab a while ago, but if I hadn’t, I could have gotten it here.”
Evgenii Ivanov, Yingjie Huang and Xia Zou are three international students who study Economics. “I think it’s a good idea that students can get their jab here, in between lectures. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to schedule an appointment,” says Yingjie. “But one downside is the fact that the ‘Tinbergen’ letters on the building are now being hidden from view by the tent.”
“I don’t think the opportunity to do it here contributes to greater social pressure to get vaccinated,” adds Evgenii. “There’s plenty of social pressure already, and I don’t really agree with it. But this vaccination site doesn’t really increase the pressure beyond what’s there already, what with the signs reminding people of the coronavirus restrictions that can be found all over campus.”
The mobile vaccination centre will be on campus on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week and next week, and also on Monday, 13 September and Tuesday, 14 September. Anyone who can produce an ID stating a social security number is welcome to come and get vaccinated. The centre is open between 9am and 4pm.