The advantages of mandatory vaccination outweigh the disadvantages, at least according to a new recommendation by the expert group Psychology and Corona, which Mediahuis newspapers reported on Wednesday.
“Voluntary motivation has been the right choice so far, but we are at a tipping point,” said motivational psychologist Maarten Vansteenkiste (UGent).
With mandatory vaccination, people who are currently under pressure from anti-vax family or friends to not get vaccinated will have an excuse to do so, Vansteenkiste said.
“An obligation may also be more desirable than a 1G policy that splits vaccinated and unvaccinated people and is actually an obligation in disguise,” he added.
Drawbacks include sowing mistrust
But the psychologists point out that there are also potential drawbacks, such as the tensions and mistrust that can arise from an obligation.
“Communication will be the key to avoiding these,” Vansteenkiste said.
The Federal Parliament is considering the question of how it will handle the controversial debate for the first time on Wednesday, though any result won’t likely come into effect until the Easter holidays at the earliest.
Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has called on the Chamber to hold an urgent and thorough parliamentary debate on the possible introduction of a vaccination obligation as soon as possible, stressing that the matter cannot wait.
The ad-hoc group of Psychology and Corona is mainly composed of academics with expertise in clinical psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology and social psychology, but also includes representatives from the professional associations of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.
They’ve described their objectives as developing a conceptual framework on corona-related behaviour as a basis for issuing strategic advice, aggregating research, and issuing reports and advice, among other things.