Share article:
Share article:

Belgium in Brief: Cause For Calm Celebration 

70% of the entire population in Flanders has now received its first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, making the region the first in Europe to reach that threshold, according to Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke.

Just let that sink in.

Now I don’t know about you, but I never saw it coming.

Some of my friends in other countries got their invite weeks before I did. My family have been vaccinated for months, so I find myself wondering how Flanders ended up ahead of the pack?

As it stands, nearly 4.7 million people in Flanders (70%) have received their first dose, bringing the region close to reaching its goal of giving all adults at least one shot by 11 July.

Previously this had seemed no longer seemed feasible due to delivery issues and the age limit for the Johnson & Johnson jab at the end of May.

And while this all seems great, it’s not a moment to get too excited yet.

“After Iceland and the United Kingdom, Flanders has the highest vaccination rate of all,” Beke told the Flemish Parliament’s Welfare Committee on Tuesday.

And considering we currently can’t accept visitors from the UK because covid numbers are so bad, let’s all stay calm for now.

This calls for a calm celebration and a low abv beer, all while following the rules.


So what we thinking: Ray of sunshine? Calm before the storm? Some other weather-based phrase to describe a global pandemic?  Let @johnstonjules know.

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. Flanders and Wallonia will soon turn orange on European map again

Flanders and Wallonia, currently both green zones on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)’s travel map, will likely turn orange again soon, experts stated at a press conference on Wednesday. Read More.

2. Belgium leads in systematically returning stolen art

Credit: Belga

The federal government has promised to return art and remains looted illegally from the Congo, which was a Belgian colony for almost 80 years in total. Read more.

3. New lambda variant makes an appearance in Belgium

A new variant of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has now spread to over 30 countries, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced. The so-called lambda variant has in one case been traced in Belgium. Read more.

4. Conings manhunt cost defence ministry €870,000

The manhunt to find fugitive corporal Jürgen Conings cost the public purse €867,045, defence minister Ludivine Dedonder (PS) told the parliament’s defence committee. Read more.

5. 12 to 15 year-olds can get vaccinated with parental consent

Young people between the ages of 12 and 15 can now also get vaccinated against the coronavirus in Belgium if they have parental consent, the Inter-Ministerial Conference (IMC) on Health decided on Wednesday. Read more.

6. Hunger-striking asylum seekers turn away medical help

A group of around 200 migrants who are on hunger strike in Brussels have entered the Beguinage church in the centre of town and closed the doors to all medical help. Read more.

7. Flanders is first in Europe to give 70% of population first vaccination

As of Tuesday, 70% of the entire population in Flanders has received its first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, making the Region the first in Europe to reach that threshold, according to Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke. Read More.