When Belgium finishes vaccinating priority groups against Covid-19, the wider population will receive an invitation to get vaccinated in the mail, the federal health minister said.
Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said in a TV interview on Thursday that the government would notify and encourage the wider population to get vaccinated when their turn came.
The first round of vaccination aimed at medical and health care workers will be carried out in hospitals, Vandenbroucke said, after which the population will receive an invitation letter to get the jab at a vaccination centre, he said.
Ahead of the definition of a vaccination timeline, the federal government said that getting vaccinated against Covid-19 will not be mandatory, with Vandenbroucke confirming that the letter would seek to “encourage” the population.
The mail notifications will be sent out on a rolling basis in accordance with the priority groups set out in the national vaccination strategy, the minister said, adding that this phase would not begin before February.
The country’s nine federal ministers are yet to thrash out the details of who will be included in each of those groups, with several already issuing calls for youth or school staff to be allowed priority access to the vaccine.
With vaccines still subject to approval by the European Union’s drug authority (EMA), that goal will not be reached before mid-2021, according to Dr Dirk Ramaekers, appointed president of the country’s vaccination task force, under Federal Coronavirus Commissioner Pedro Facon.