The older generation struggles with the new QR-code policy that ensures that a code on the CoronaCheckApp now counts as mandatory vaccination certificate.
“A big part of the seniors can’t download a QR-code because of a bad smartphone or no phone at all,” says spokesperson Sven Stijnman of the senior citizens association KBO-PCOB. “We also see this problem with the CoronaDetectorApp. Yes, there are alternatives, and they work for some people, but there is still a big group which needs another solution.”
In his last press-conference on the 14th of September, outgoing minister of health Hugo de Jonge announced that elderly can get a QR-code in a non-digital way. There is a national phone number for senior citizens with problems and if they don’t own a printer, they can print the code in a library.
But the printed QR-code alternatives don’t work for everyone. Stijnman explains: “The number is getting overloaded with calls. There are long waiting lines and when elderly finally get in contact with an employee, there seems to be other types of barriers. For example: if elderly didn’t get vaccinated at the GGD, but at a general practitioner, they can only request their code with that general practitioner. And that’s not the only problem.”
This measure causes a lot of frustration among the older generation. They feel like they are not listened to. “As KBO, we have warned the government much earlier on about these frustrations and that they should handle the situation differently. But they didn’t listen to us,” Stijnman says. “A solution for a big part of the older generation would be the yellow vaccination booklet. It isn’t a legal access ticket now, but many elderly people already have this. So that would fix a part of the problem.”
He continues: “Elderly also want to make spontaneous plans and go out. But with the effect of this QR-code measure, they don’t have this freedom anymore.”