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Brussels launches campaign to vaccinate sex workers

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Brussels’ Common Community Commission (COCOM), which manages the Region’s vaccination policy, launched a campaign focused on the vaccination of sex workers, since they will be allowed to resume their work from 9 June.

The Region worked together with several associations close to the sector, such as Alias, Bruss’Help, Espace P, Dokters van de Wereld and UTSOPI.

“Sex workers are highly exposed to contact with their clients and are asking to be vaccinated themselves,” Maxime Maes, general coordinator of sex worker union UTSOPI, said in a press release.

“In this way, the sector can carry out its activities in the best possible conditions, taking into account their daily reality,” Maes said, adding that such an arrangement is “indispensable.”

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According to Brussels Health Minister Alain Maron, the goal remains the same: “vaccinating as many Brussels residents as possible and not leaving anyone behind.”

This new initiative of community vaccinations comes on top of the other campaigns in the Region, according to him.

People in Brussels who want to be vaccinated are asked to register at one of the Region’s ten vaccination centres. “However, if a person requests it, we also offer them the opportunity to be vaccinated at the premises of one of the associations on the ground,” the COCOM said.

In this case, the shots will be administered by a mobile vaccination team, consisting of a nurse and a coordinating doctor. “It is important that the vaccination takes place in a place where no judgement is passed and no intrusive questions are asked.”

“It is really great that these organisations are also providing vaccination! I have been waiting for a year for it myself,” said Belinda, a sex worker in Brussels, in the same press release.

“For me, it is the only place where I feel comfortable enough to talk about my profession,” she added.

The sex work sector is one of the hardest-hit sectors by the health crisis. The combination of the stop of their activities and other factors only added to the extreme insecurity of sex workers, who are not always covered by the general vaccination system.