Around three-quarters of vaccinated people in Belgium (75%) are in favour of compulsory vaccination for healthcare workers, however, this support is significantly lower among those who work in the sector who oppose vaccination.
Several countries including France and Italy have obliged healthcare workers to receive the shots, which has opened up the debate in Belgium on whether it should become mandatory here.
“While a majority of vaccinated persons are in favour of compulsory vaccination (74% of the general population, 64% of health care professionals), a large majority of those who oppose vaccination are against (78% of the general population; 92% of health care professionals),” the latest motivation barometer read.
The survey by the University of Brussels (ULB), UGent, KU Leuven and UCLouvain published on Wednesday put the question to over 25,000 people, of which around 4,700 were healthcare workers, divided into three groups: those who are opposed to vaccination, those who are sceptical about the vaccine and those who are willing or already vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the Interministerial Conference on Public Health has approved an action plan to increase the vaccination rate among healthcare personnel, which includes the possibility of mandatory vaccination, however, Belgium’s Health Ministers hope that it will not come to that, according to VRT News.
This vaccination rate must be increased, among other things, because of the spread of the Delta variant in our country.
Motivation over force
In the findings, however, the group of researchers stressed that other motivational strategies (e.g., sensitisation, empathic approach, rhythm respect) have a more positive impact and that it is “therefore important to continue to use them for the time being”.
“Making vaccination compulsory will only be accepted if it is perceived as legitimate by refusing or doubting health professionals,” the report explained, adding that if this is not the case, it risks provoking resistance.
As of Tuesday, 81.6% of the adult population in Belgium (around 7.6 million people) has received the first injection of a coronavirus vaccine, whilst almost 5.08 million people (55% of the adult population in Belgium) have received a second dose and are now considered fully protected.