Only 3.5 million masks out of the 12 million ordered by Defence have been distributed so far, Le Soir reported on Monday.
That means that millions of face masks protectors are still available in pharmacies free of charge, based on figures from the Association of Pharmacists Belgium (APB).
Since mid-June, Belgians can collect a free mask upon presenting their identity card.
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"Twelve million of these masks were sent by the Defence to 28 wholesalers' depots, which in turn distributed a large proportion of them to pharmacies," said APB vice-president Koen Straetmans.
"Every time someone picks up their free mask at the pharmacy, the operation is encoded and, according to our latest count, 3.5 million of these masks have now been distributed," he added.
The distribution will continue but perhaps not until the full stock is sold out: "Pharmacists will keep what they have in store - especially because they have 200 or 1,000 unit packs that have often been opened - and continue the distribution for a few weeks or even months," Straetmans said.
The free face masks have been available since 15 June, when priority was given to the elderly.
The Brussels Times