Ahead of the Consultative Committee on Wednesday afternoon, the president of the Francophone socialist PS party Paul Magnette said that it should not be possible to fire healthcare staff who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
On Monday, the core ministers of the Federal Government decided that healthcare staff that has not been vaccinated by April 2022 can be fired, but Magnette shared some reservations about the idea on Twitter.
“We must dare to have the debate on compulsory vaccination,” he said in a video. “We cannot say: I do not think the vaccine has to be compulsory, but people who have not been vaccinated cannot do anything anymore.”
Magnette wants to avoid ending up in a situation like the one in Austria, where unvaccinated people are severely restricted in their movements, he explained.
“We cannot say: the vaccine is not obligatory, but for some people it is,” he stressed. “Either the vaccine is obligatory for everyone or it is for no one.”
C’est ensemble qu’on s’en sortira, par des mesures qui valent pour tout le monde. Je suis donc contre l’hypothèse de licencier une infirmière pour la raison qu’elle ne serait pas vaccinée alors qu’il n’y a pas d’obligation pour tous. pic.twitter.com/KZoZqqE5DP
— Paul Magnette (@PaulMagnette) November 16, 2021
For him, the solution is to make it mandatory for everyone. Together is the only way to get out of the pandemic, with measures that apply to everyone, he stressed.
“Therefore, I am against the principle of dismissing a nurse because she would not be vaccinated when there is no obligation for everyone,” Magnette said.
“Obviously, we cannot give it to everyone at once, so we have to start with some professions that are at the heart of the fight against the coronavirus, such as health workers.”
However, the obligation should be generalised, he said, adding that there is “no reason” to target certain categories today.
Walloon Minister-President and Magnette’s party colleague, Elio Di Rupo, also spoke out against the possibility of dismissing staff if they refuse to be vaccinated.
“We are not here to exclude them, but to make healthcare places safe and secure,” he said on RTL on Wednesday morning. “I am totally opposed to the dismissal of non-vaccinated people.”
Instead, Di Rupo advocated suspending the contract, while granting an unemployment allowance. “We need to find humane solutions,” he said.
The Consultative Committee will start meeting at 2:30 PM today, and will hold a press conference to announce its decisions, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed to The Brussels Times.
An overview of all the measures that are expected to be discussed, including mandatory vaccination for the general population, can be found here.