The Netherlands began administering the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, Jan. 6. In a joint statement, Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander called the start of vaccinations “a turning point that gives hope for a way out of this crisis.” “Many thanks to everyone who cooperates! Now it is important to stick together,” the Dutch monarchs added.
Hugo de Jonge, Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, tweeted on Jan. 6, “Today we start vaccinating. This begins a new phase in the corona approach. A phase of hope and new perspective. The first vaccination will soon be done at the GGD injection site in Veghel.”
Willem-Alexander, who along with Queen Maxima faced “intense” criticism last year for taking a vacation amid the pandemic, spoke about the novel coronavirus and 2020 being a “tough year” in his recent Christmas speech. “My heart goes out to all those people whose lives have been turned upside down. People with a dream that has broken down. Entrepreneurs who see their healthy business capsize. People who feel lonely and don‘t know where to look,” the dad of three said (translated to English). “Bottomless is the grief of anyone who has lost a loved one - through COVID or whatever cause - and feels that they have not been able to say goodbye properly.”
Willem-Alexander continued, “We humans cannot do without a loving look or an embrace. Forced distance is against our human nature. I would like to thank everyone who has spent the last few months trying to comply with the regulations through trial and error. And anyone who is committed in any way to help us through this crisis or cooperate in making vaccines safely available.”