Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has said he wants to change Belgium's law to allow pharmacists to administer Covid-19 vaccines against, he announced Friday on Radio 2.
The change would permit pharmacists to administer the vaccine at an individual's request, circumventing the need for a prescription from a general practitioner, reports Belga News Agency.
As things stand currently, pharmacists can only carry out antigen tests. "I think it is important that people who are not yet vaccinated can also turn to pharmacists," the minister said. The date for the change is yet to be announced.
The Belgian Pharmaceutical Association (APB) has supported this change, pointing out that pharmacists can reach citizens for whom the vaccination campaign is less accessible.
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"It is clear that pharmacists can be mobilised in this crisis," stressed APB president Koen Straetmans. "Through their professional training, they can serve as vaccinators in the pharmacy as part of the decentralised fight against Covid-19, in order to bring citizens closer to the vaccine." He added that this assistance from pharmacists does not replace the vaccine measures already in place.
In April, however, the General Union of Nurses of Belgium (UGIB) warned against training pharmacists and veterinarians to administer coronavirus vaccines in Belgium.
The union argued that the administration of this vaccine is more than a simple "shot" and must be carried out by a trained professional.