People in Belgium who have received a vaccination against the coronavirus will not get any specific privileges, health officials said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Vaccination against Covid-19 in Belgium will be free of charge, entirely voluntary, and "will not grant vaccinated people specific privileges," said virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.
The clarification came following a civic participation project on the country's vaccination policy with 103 participants representing the Belgian population as well as possible, organised in December by Sciensano.
"Among the participants, there were two camps concerning the consequences of the decision to (not) be vaccinated," Van Gucht said.
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One group felt that vaccination status should not lead to certain privileges or separate measures, as that could lead to discrimination and stigmatisation, and is contrary to democratic principles such as freedom of choice.
"The other group felt that the choice not to be vaccinated should mean accepting some of the consequences of that choice," Van Gucht said.
"They argued in favour of a vaccination certificate that could be used in certain contexts, such as travel, participation in mass events or for certain professions," he added.
Such certificates, however, will not be used in Belgium, and the coronavirus measures and relaxations will be based on the evolution of the figures, according to Van Gucht.
He did stress that the more people are vaccinated, the easier it will be to slow down the virus and reduce hospital admissions. "And, in turn, that will create the prospect of easing the burden on everyone," Van Gucht added.
The Brussels Times