'A few thousand' Flemish residents vaccinated faster in Brussels using false postal code

'A few thousand' Flemish residents vaccinated faster in Brussels using false postal code
Credit: Belga

By lying about their postal code, "a few thousand" people living in Flanders abused the Bruvax registration system to get vaccinated before their turn in the Brussels-Capital Region.

As the Bruvax system was not watertight, people filled out the postcode of one of the municipalities in Brussels to pretend they lived in the Region to be vaccinated earlier, instead of waiting for their turn in Flanders, according to Inge Neven of the Brussels health inspectorate.

"People only had to enter their national registration number and postal code. Unfortunately, this system - based on a declaration of honour - was abused by several people," she told VRT, adding that the system was set up very simply in the beginning.

This means that by deliberately entering the wrong postcode, "a few thousand Flemish residents were called up and vaccinated more quickly in Brussels than in their own Region," Neven added.

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As Brussels is already vaccination younger age groups than the rest of the country, people were given priority even though they were not eligible for it, leading to younger people abusing the system, in particular, according to her.

Neven said that she regrets the abuse, and stressed that the system has now been checked to keep these loopholes closed. "For the registrations, this can no longer happen, but for the waiting lists it still might."

However, there will now also be an extra check in the vaccination centres. People's identity card will be checked once they are at the centre, and anyone who does not live in Brussels will be refused, according to her.

"So, there is no point anymore in signing up as a Flemish resident on a Brussels list with a lie," Neven added.

In the Brussels-Capital Region, people born in 1980 or earlier can currently put themselves on the Bruvax waiting list, while people born in 1975 or earlier are eligible for vaccination.

However, those who deliberately cheated the system will likely not be punished for it, and will still get their second vaccine without any problems.

"The intention is to vaccinate everyone as soon as possible. We are still considering whether to give this any consequences," Neven said. "But that is not really our job. Our job is to vaccinate everyone as soon as possible, and that is also what we are going to do."

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