Brussels mayor calls on Minister Maron to address inequalities in city’s vaccination plan
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Brussels mayor calls on Minister Maron to address inequalities in city’s vaccination plan

Emir Kir, mayor of Saint-Josse in Brussels © Belga

Saint-Josse-ten-Noode mayor Emir KIR called on the Brussels Minister of Health, Alain Maron, to take responsibility for guaranteeing an equal access to the coronavirus vaccine when it comes to the city’s residents.

“Vaccination is progressing rapidly in the Brussels region, which portends a quick recovery of our former lives,” KIR said in a press release on Monday.

“While we should be pleased with this progress, it is useful to note that vaccination is characterised by disparities that often reflect socio-economic realities and those of the digital divide.”

KIR pointed out a number of obstacles to vaccination for some of the Belgian capital’s most vulnerable inhabitants, including a lack of access to the technologies needed to easily make an appointment for vaccination.

“We have a significant number of registrations and two-thirds of the people who have registered do not have an accessible email address, and one-third do not have an operational telephone,” KIR said.

“At the municipal level, we have increased our efforts to support our residents in the registration process. I have been in the field myself and the conclusion is obvious.”

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Mayor KIR said that sociologists have emphasised the importance of hyper-local actions, and in that regard is asking for a neighbourhood vaccination centre and both direct and secure access for residents that haven’t yet responded to vaccination invites.

“In Saint-Josse, we are ready to fully play this role of proximity to raise awareness among our population,” said KIR.

“Our actions are important, but they must be supported by the Region, which steers the vaccination strategy.”

KIR hopes a more localised strategy when it comes to vaccinations will help mitigate the effects of the digital divide, along with other socio-economic factors that are preventing people from getting vaccinated.