‘Stigmatising’: Brussels won’t publish vaccination figures per care institution

‘Stigmatising’: Brussels won’t publish vaccination figures per care institution
Credit: Belga

After Flanders published the vaccination figures of healthcare institutions today, Brussels Health Minister Alain Maron stated that he opposes mandatory publication of these data, fearing stigmatisation.

Since Wednesday, people can look up the percentage of employees who are vaccinated against Covid-19 per hospital or residential care centre in Flanders on the zorgkwaliteit.be website, which reports on the quality of care per institution.

This means that staff’s vaccination coverage – just like patient satisfaction, for example – is considered an indicator of the quality of care in an institution, which people can take into consideration when looking for somewhere to go.

The publication of these data is voluntary.

However, the institutions that choose to publish their vaccination figures are often those with a particularly high rate, while those with a lower vaccination coverage more often opt not to make their data public.

“We are not going to force the institutions to publish these figures,” Maron said. “They are free to do so, of course. Experts stress that stigmatising the non-vaccinated will not make them want to be vaccinated. It is awareness-raising that can convince them.”

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However, in order to raise awareness in a targeted way, it would be useful to know which target groups have to most questions and issues about vaccination, the Brussels health authorities said on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Federal Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) published a report showing that only 66.9% of all staff in residential care centres in Brussels are fully vaccinated.

In a quarter of the 124 Brussels residential care centres, less than 60% of the staff have been vaccinated, and in three unidentified nursing homes, the vaccination rate is even below 40%, the KCE’s report stated.

“We are in favour of compulsory vaccination [for healthcare workers], but it is fundamental that thorough consultation with the actors involved and the social partners happens first,” a spokesperson for Maron clarified to the Belga news agency.

The consultation is underway, but it is not yet clear when a result may be expected, and no date has been set, they said.

“We continue to ask mandatory vaccination in residential care centres,” Inge Neven, the head of the Brussels health inspectorate, told the Belga news agency on Wednesday. “It is very important that the people who come into contact with these high-risk people get vaccinated.”

Earlier this week, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke also stated that he wants a law passed to makes vaccination mandatory in the healthcare sector before 2022.

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