A lot of people with a migration background are hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Lack of trust and conspiracy theories wander around in these populations, which has resulted in a low willingness to get the vaccine of only 50% compared to 80% of the Dutch population.

The GGD has started a campaign to motivate people with a migration background to get vaccinated. Several conspiracy theories such as that the COVID-19 vaccine makes you infertile or the idea that they were designed to wipe out minorities. When you already mistrust the Dutch government, it is easy to believe in these conspiracy theories.

APH researcher Charles Agyemang (professor of Global Migration, Ethnicity & Health at Amsterdam UMC) says in Het Parool: “Minorities feel left out, they see themselves as second-class citizens”. The result is that people in Ghana are happy to get vaccinated, but in the Netherlands a large number of Ghanaian population is hesitant. Moreover, undocumented migrants are anxious to be deported when they show up for a vaccine.

Luckily a personal approach seems to work. This is shown by a trial from the Amsterdam GGD in a refugee center. The vaccine rate increased to 76%. Agyemang hopes that a possibility to get vaccinated in churches and mosques will be implemented soon, which will make it easier accessible for some groups of the population. In the UK this approach led to a higher vaccine rate.    

Read the article 'Spookverhalen en wantrouwen: waarom zoveel mensen geen prik willen' in Het Parool.