'Not clear': Belgium must properly explain Covid Safe Ticket

'Not clear': Belgium must properly explain Covid Safe Ticket
Credit: Belga

It is "crucial" that the Consultative Committee thoroughly explain the introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) to increase the acceptance of the population, says motivational psychologist Maarten Vansteenkiste.

While the CST is important to safeguard public health, it is not clear how or where it will be used, which is why explaining the risks attached to a certain situation is important, he told Het Laatste Nieuws.

"In the nightlife sector, it is logical to introduce this," Vansteenkiste said. "But is it so logical in shops? We have not done that so far, so it is not so clear."

Those who are vaccinated are still motivated to follow the measures, the results of the motivation barometer show. "I think the support should not be underestimated. It is definitely there."

If the risks are made clear, people are willing to change their behaviour to deal with them, but they need to have a good explanation of why, according to Vansteenkiste.

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"That is what is lacking a bit," he said. "Why is it necessary to go into quarantine today if your children are infected at school? That is a big burden. But why is it essential? We need to explain that properly."

Additionally, inconsistencies and contradictions in the regulations do not increase popular support, Vansteenkiste stressed.

"Part of the population does not understand that face masks are no longer required at events with fewer than 200 participants, but are still required at school," he added.

A broad introduction of the CST would need to be correctly framed: "Not as a bullying strategy for the unvaccinated or to put pressure on people to get vaccinated, but as a protection strategy for all of us."

Vansteenkiste sees no added value in stigmatising people who are unvaccinated, not least because the group is relatively small in Belgium. "It would be nice to maintain some solidarity in society. I hope that the CST does not come at the expense of that."

Last Friday, Vansteenkiste also told The Brussels Times that while the expansion of the CST is often seen as a way to motivate people to get vaccinated, it is doing the complete opposite and will make unvaccinated people feel like the certificate is closing doors for them.

“This is why experts have stressed the need to draw people’s attention to the fact that getting vaccinated is about safeguarding people’s health more than it is an instrument to guarantee someone’s freedom," he added. "Freedom is an added benefit of vaccination, not the goal."

The Consultative Committee has been meeting since 2:00 PM and will announce its decisions during a press conference later on Friday; a timing has yet to be communicated.

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