Mandatory vaccination is “the only way out” of the coronavirus situation in the Brussels Capital-Region, said Brussels MP Bianca Debaets during the Council of the Community Commission.
The current approach has only shown that there are divisions within the Brussels government, according to Debaets.
“I read in the media that Brussels Health Minister Alain Maron is asking for a democratic debate on compulsory vaccination. That is pure nonsense,” she said.
“Governing is about daring to take on responsibilities, not just putting everything in the hands of citizens,” Debaets said, adding that while some measures are not popular, they are still necessary.
“If you ask citizens if there should be extra taxes, they will always say no,” she added. “Not everything always needs a support base.”
According to Maron, however, a democratic debate on compulsory vaccination should be held, including open parliamentary debates with hearings consisting of experts, but also representatives of the population.
“We [the Francophone green Ecolo party] are not against compulsory vaccination, but we are not saying we are necessarily in favour of it either,” he told LN24 on Wednesday morning.
“Compulsory vaccination of the entire population falls under federal competence,” explained Maron, adding that both Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke have already publically spoken out against it.
“However, I do not think the debate is over. It still has to mature,” he said. “At the moment, no democratic country has made vaccination compulsory.”
Last week, Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort also stated that he is in favour of an open debate about mandatory vaccination without taboos, considering the Capital-Region’ low vaccination rate of just 51% fully vaccinated residents.
In the meantime, figures have surfaced showing that an average of 4.96 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants was recorded in Brussels over the last two months. This is more than three times the amount in Flanders, where 78% of the entire population is vaccinated, and ‘only’ 1.24 deaths occurred per 100,000 inhabitants.
However, the average number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the same period was only 1.5 times higher in Brussels than in Flanders.
The issue, according to Vervoort, is that many refuse vaccination for many different reasons, ranging from anti-vaxxers to people who are either disinterested, uninformed or afraid of the vaccine.
Referring to the analogy of leading a horse to the water but not being able to make it drink, Vervoort wondered if the horse should be forced, before saying that, according to him, “at some point, it should be.”
“It is a question of solidarity and a question of collective interest. We also live in society. In society, that also means that we must do our part to protect each other,” he said