68% of Belgians would support restricting the liberties of non-vaccinated people, according to a survey published by Le Soir and RTL on Monday. 22% of respondents would be opposed to such constraints.
The survey is revealing of a general pandemic fatigue as Europe is gripped by the fourth coronavirus wave and braces itself for the, as yet unknown, repercussions of the fast-spreading Omicron variant. For many, the desire to return to some semblance of normality is overwhelming; if that means that those who have resisted the vaccines must sacrifice some personal freedoms so that everyone else can enjoy life to the full, then so be it.
Support for restrictions – for instance to public spaces – is stronger in Flanders (71%) than in Brussels (64%) or Wallonia (62%). This reflects the higher vaccination rates seen in the Flanders region.
The topic of general restrictions is even more pertinent as the question of a mandatory vaccine is due to be discussed at the next Consultative Committee (22 December). It has already been decided that the measure will be implemented for healthcare workers early next year – a divisive topic that many fear will lead to staff shortages at a time when the need for more personnel is felt more acutely than ever.
In the case of healthcare staff, 74% of respondents agreed that those in the sector should be obliged to get vaccinated. 55% indicated that non-vaccinated staff should be forbidden from working in the healthcare sector.
Half of Belgians were in favour of vaccinating children from the age of 5.