‘Illegal’: Brussels vaccination centre criticised for lack of Dutch-speaking staff
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‘Illegal’: Brussels vaccination centre criticised for lack of Dutch-speaking staff

Credit: Belga

A Dutch-speaking woman from Brussels filed a complaint against the Heysel coronavirus vaccination centre this week after she failed to get the information she requested in her language about possible side-effects.

She received an invitation to be vaccinated on Monday, and after receiving her shot, she wanted to ask a question about the side-effects of the dose when taking the pill, but there were no Dutch-speaking staff in the centre to help her.

“I explained I was Dutch-speaking, but I was expected to bring out my best French. I was never even offered the option of having a Dutch-speaking doctor or nurse, and was then asked some questions in French that I didn’t understand,” she told Bruzz.

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The staff referred her to the information page of the vaccination centre’s website, which they said included a list of frequently asked questions, including details about possible side-effects after the vaccination, in Dutch, English and French.

But upon clicking on the first two languages in the drop-down menu, she was taken to a French-language list, the woman said, adding: “I was redirected in French to a page with answers that are only available in French.”

The woman has contacted the Common Community Commission in Brussels to put in a complaint about the incident, but has not yet received an answer.

“This situation is illegal, unacceptable and even life-threatening,” a member of the Brussels parliament, Gilles Verstraeten, said in response to the incident.

The questionnaires on the Heysel vaccination centre’s website will be translated, according to Inge Neven, head of the Brussels health inspectorate, who added that it was also looking at how to bring in more Dutch-speaking staff.

The woman also pointed out that she found it strange to be invited for the vaccination in the first place, saying: “I’m in my twenties, I don’t work in healthcare and I’m not one of the priority groups.”

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times