Belgian or not: all legal residents can get Covid-19 vaccination
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Belgian or not: all legal residents can get Covid-19 vaccination

Credit: Belga

Belgium will make no distinction between people with and without the Belgian nationality when vaccinating the population against the coronavirus, as long as they are legal residents.

“Anyone who is a legal resident in Belgium and whose details we therefore have, can be vaccinated,” the cabinet of Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke told De Standaard.

“In the case of an infectious disease like this, of course, it is not possible to make a distinction on the basis of nationality or status,” they said.

If such a distinction would be made, there is a risk that Belgium would not achieve the vaccination coverage of 70% of the population needed for herd immunity.

Everyone will receive a letter informing them it is their turn to get vaccinated, and anyone who wants to can get the vaccine free of charge, according to the authorities, with no distinction between Belgians and non-Belgians for payment either.

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Additionally, nationality will not play a role in the order in which Covid-19 vaccinations are carried out. Non-Belgians in residential care centres belong to the first group to be vaccinated, together with their Belgian co-inhabitants.

Approximately 1,4 million people in Belgium do not have the Belgian nationality, according to figures by Statbel, Belgium’s official statistics office.

The vast majority of people without a Belgian nationality who live in Belgium are European citizens, and the discussions on payment are ongoing at the European level.

However, the same procedure also applies to people who are not European citizens but are domiciled in Belgium, as well as for the people who have applied for asylum, even though they are a very small minority, according to the cabinet.

Belgium has already started with vaccinations in residential care centres, which will be followed by hospital staff and healthcare workers. More info about the priority groups and the order of vaccinations can be found here.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times