Only vaccinated people should be allowed access to public places, the chair of the Flemish socialist Vooruit party Conner Rousseau wrote in an opinion piece for De Standaard.
Vaccination is the highest barrier we can erect against the coronavirus, as vaccines offer the best protection for our healthcare system, our economy and our society, according to Rousseau. “In Flanders, more than 90% of the adult population has had one or more shots, in the whole of Belgium more than 80%.”
“But as long as a certain percentage of Flemish and Belgian people remain unvaccinated – even if it is only 10% – the virus has enough room to manoeuvre to make so many victims that our healthcare system is disrupted,” Rousseau stressed.
According to him, this results in other urgent medical treatments that have to be postponed and people suffering unnecessarily, becoming even more ill or dying.
And because of this, freedom-restricting measures have to be taken every so often for everyone, including those who are vaccinated, he said. “As long as the minority does not also get vaccinated, nobody is free. The decision not to be vaccinated is not a personal one, it affects everyone.”
Rousseau stressed that, currently, “the freedom of 10% of the population takes precedence over the freedom of 90% of the population. This is the world upside down. The minority of unvaccinated people is taking the solidarity of the majority of vaccinated people hostage.”
Bearing the consequences of their choice
The aim of the Vooruit party is not to put the needle into people’s arms against their will, to threaten them with prison sentences or fine them, but to make sure that they are the only ones bearing the consequences of their choice not to get vaccinated, Rousseau explained.
“That means they would no longer be allowed to enter public places where they could infect themselves and others, threatening to overburden the healthcare system,” he said. “They would be banned from restaurants, bars, dance halls, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, sports clubs and shops (except supermarkets).”
Employers, too, should be able to request a vaccination certificate from their employees, in order to ensure the health of the workforce and the continuity of their activities, Rousseau added.
The reverse is then also true: people who have been vaccinated can participate in the full range of social, cultural and economic life. “Solidarity is thus rewarded with freedom,” he said. “Patience is good, but after a certain time, an obligation is better. Without a vaccination certificate, you get nowhere, with a vaccination certificate you get everywhere.”