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Majority of unvaccinated healthcare workers aged under 44

Credit: Belga

The majority of unvaccinated healthcare workers are staff members aged under 44, as the vaccination coverage rate in this sector increases by age.

Healthcare workers in the youngest age categories (aged 18-34 and 35-44) account for two-thirds of unvaccinated staff, according to a recent statement from the Federal Healthcare Knowledge Centre (KCE), which analysed the coverage rate upon request of the Vaccination Taskforce.

“The choice not to be vaccinated is made more in younger age groups. In particular, in Brussels residential care centres, vaccination coverage among younger workers is very low,” a statement from the KCE read.

In the region, just 52.3% and 56.1% of employees aged 18 to 34 who work in public and private residential care centres are fully vaccinated, respectively. In the age group 35 to 44-year-olds, this rises to 64.7% and 60.5%.

“Staff working in residential care centres in Wallonia and Brussels-Capital represent 53.1% and 24.1% respectively of the group of non-vaccinated staff,” the report stated, adding that “in absolute figures, the largest proportion of unvaccinated staff is therefore found in Walloon healthcare institutions.”

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Meanwhile, in Brussels, 60.9% of the non-vaccinated staff work in hospitals, as a larger number of people is active in the hospital sector compared to residential care centres, however, the vaccination coverage is particularly high in Brussels hospitals with a large number of employees, which raises the average.

Across all regions, the vaccination rate in hospitals was higher than in residential care homes, however, the vaccination coverage is “significantly higher” in care institutions in Flanders (93.8%) than in those in Wallonia and Brussels-Capital, where it is 78.5% and 66.9%, respectively.

Vaccination rates in psychiatric hospitals are slightly lower than in other types of hospitals.

While more than half of all healthcare institutions in Flanders manage to achieve 95% vaccination coverage, in Wallonia and Brussels, just one hospital in Wallonia, one in Brussels, and while 16 residential care centres in Wallonia reached this level of vaccination, not one in Brussels did.

The KCE stressed that, especially in residential care centres, there is still room for improvement in all regions, but in Brussels and Wallonia, a “significant additional effort is required to reach the target” of a 95% vaccination rate.

The results also indicated that the vaccination coverage rate of hospital staff is higher than that of the general population of the same age across all three regions, while in Flanders, this is also the case for staff working in care and nursing homes.

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