Vaccination should be mandatory or encouraged with Covid pass, says expert

Vaccination should be mandatory or encouraged with Covid pass, says expert
Credit: Belga

Vaccination should be made mandatory or be encouraged in Belgium with a coronavirus pass to get the vaccination rate up, according to Marc Noppen, the CEO of the Brussels University Hospital (UZ Brussel).

The vaccination coverage in Brussels is significantly lower than in the rest of the country, but getting it up is not easy - as proven by the Capital-Region's many initiatives to get its residents vaccinated.

"Our figures in Brussels are identical to those of London, Paris, Amsterdam or Rotterdam," Noppen said on Flemish radio on Wednesday. "It really is a metropolitan phenomenon."

A large part of the problem is the fact that groups of people are not or poorly informed, but the vaccines are "effective and safe, and we need to inform them properly," according to him.

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However, it may also be possible to win some people over by introducing a coronavirus pass, like in France, according to Noppen.

Additionally, just like all of Belgium's hospitals, he is also firmly in favour of compulsory vaccination for everyone working in the healthcare sector, but the government is currently still sticking to voluntary vaccination.

However, the vaccination rate in residential care centres in Brussels is still below 50%, which is a risk for residents and visitors. "We cannot tolerate this," said Noppen.

"There is a group of people who are fundamentally, rabidly anti-vaccine for whatever reason. You cannot convince them with rational arguments," he said.

As a result, Noppen pleads for a kind of two-track policy: either make vaccination mandatory, or "reward" those who want to be vaccinated with a coronavirus pass.

"For principled anti-vaxxers: no mercy," he added.

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