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They want priority with an injection: ‘I have cancer, this is my last year’

People between the ages of 18 and 60 with a medical condition can receive a priority injection from the GP from February. It concerns millions of people, such as patients with heart disease, kidney problems and diabetes.

But the number of vaccines is limited, who gets to go first? The Dutch College of General Practitioners is busy drawing up a guideline that should provide a solution. There is no time to waste for cancer patient Ellen, diabetes patient Jan Charles and kidney patient Valerie. They all have reasons why they deserve priority.

Ellen – metastatic breast cancer: ‘My death is coming’

“I have metastatic breast cancer. The cancer is now also in my liver and if the chemo stops working, I have a few more weeks. That death is near, I know. I’ve had breast cancer since 1995. It came and it went,” but now there is a good chance that this will be my last year. “

And that should be a good year, says Ellen Kooijmans. “I still want to go to a concert. Have a bite to eat with friends and cuddle with my loved ones. I still long for a good time, that’s why I hope for that shot on February 1st.”

I allow myself

Ellen understands that there are people who think: you are going to die, why should you get priority? “People may think that. My mother is old and severely demented, she no longer needs that injection. But it does for me. I think I can enjoy it for a while and I have little time left.”

The past year has been tough. “Because of corona I did not look for the risks. I have been single again for a while, which made it extra difficult. I did see friends, but at a distance and outside in parks.”

“I fear that the vaccination will be a lottery. There are just not enough vaccines yet. But I do think that I can do everything I can to maximize the chance of an injection. I will ask my doctor and oncologist what they do. I want it for everyone, but I also want it for myself. “

Jan Charles – diabetes patient: ‘I want out of that prison’

“A prison. That has been my life since corona”, Jan Charles Aarden (66) begins. “The only outing I have is the supermarket. And then I am always alert. And I visit an elderly man because of my caregiving work. At a great distance, yes. Because of my diabetes and because I do not want to make that elderly man sick, I am alive. I’ve been like a hermit for months. “


Jan Charles has had diabetes since he was eighteen. “Type1. About 100,000 people have that variant. But in total about 1.2 million people have diabetes. All these people are extra vulnerable due to the corona outbreak. Figures from the first corona wave show that mainly people with type 2 diabetes and obesity ended up on the ic. Diabetes already weakens your immune system and if you get corona, you run an extra risk. “

Jan Charles therefore believes that diabetics have the right to priority. Especially the group that is also overweight, because these people run extra risk. “Because I am 66 years old, I am afraid that I will have to wait a long time for an injection. And now I may be making a bold statement, but I think I deserve priority. Not just to take my own life back a bit. but also to resume my informal care work. People are already having such a hard time, informal carers are incredibly important in these times. “

Valerie – kidney patient: ‘I want my daughter to go back to school’

“My kidneys are hardly working anymore. I have hundreds, maybe even thousands of cysts in my kidneys,” says Valerie van de Flier (41). She was supposed to receive a kidney transplant this year, but because of corona, that was canceled because her donor will probably have to come from abroad. “If I get corona, the chance that I will die is 25 percent. And that also applies to all those other kidney patients.”

That is why she thinks these patients deserve priority. “And those nearly 1 million 60-year-olds with a fragile health. It seems that Hugo de Jonge has forgotten our existence.”

Lie still

Since corona, the whole life of Valerie and her family has come to a standstill. “My 7-year-old daughter Oriana hasn’t been to school since March. She’s locked up at home. Can’t play with friends either. She’s doing great, but I think it’s terrible. Normal people who deliberately keep their child in prison go to prison and get a hospital order. But I am advised not to take my child out because of the corona. “

Valerie can’t wait to live a normal life again. “That shot can’t come fast enough. I don’t know when it’s my turn. With the current schedule, I hope for mid-May. But there is still so much uncertainty. I don’t even know which vaccine I will receive yet. Whether I will keep it up. I have to. I have no choice. “


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