Brussels Airport: vaccinate all staff, aircrew and passengers, says mediator
Share article:
Share article:

Brussels Airport: vaccinate all staff, aircrew and passengers, says mediator

© Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga

The government task force on vaccination should make a priority of obliging all staff, crew and passengers visiting an airport to be vaccinated, according to Philippe Touwaide, the airport’s mediator.

The mediator’s mission is normally limited to dealing with complaints on aircraft noise from people living in the vicinity of the airport and under the flight paths in use by aircraft departing and arriving at Brussels Airport.

Speaking to the French-speaking public broadcaster RTBF, Touwaide was asked whether the vaccine against Covid-19 ought to be made compulsory.

The airport is a place of exchanges, with passengers who come from all countries,” he said. “Countries where the health situations are different. I am in favour of requiring vaccination of staff, pilots and passengers who go to an airport to travel. That is a solution that would limit the spread of the virus.”

The discussion arose from the news that experts had estimated that the vaccination campaign in Belgium, which began on Tuesday, would have to reach 70% of the population in order to be effective – some seven million people.

However, a recent survey carried out by the health institute Sciensano revealed that only 60% of people would volunteer to be vaccinated.

Among the concerns people express, one of the most worrying is the speed at which the vaccines have been developed and approved, and whether all safety concerns have been addressed in the race to get the vaccines – two for the time being have been approved by the European medicines agency – to the population.

Several elements allowed us to go so quickly,” explained Marie-Lise Verschelden, spokesperson for Pfizer in Belgium, the company that developed the first vaccine together with German company BioNTech.

First, there was a real exchange of information very early on in the scientific world. That is quite exceptional, and it allowed us to start on a very good basis. Second, at Pfizer we usually focus on one vaccine candidate when we want to launch one. And if it is felt during the various stages that that vaccine candidate is inconclusive, we launch a second which in turn will also have to go through the same steps. But in this case we took the risk of starting immediately with four vaccine candidates.”

That approach, she explained, allowed the company to carry out the necessary trials and then, at the end of the course, to select the vaccine that was most effective. And while that was going on, the company was already adapting its production lines at the factory in Puurs in Antwerp province, which was then standing ready to roll the minute approval was given.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Mayor wants to close two Brussels bars where alleged sexual assaults took place
Ixelles' Mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said that he’d like to close the two bars that employed a man accused of raping multiple patrons, ...
‘Untenable’: Mayor says situation at Brussels North station is out of control
The situation at Brussels North Station is no longer tenable, Schaerbeek's mayor Cécile Jodogne (Défi) says. Drug dealing, homelessness, ...
Suicide second-leading cause of death among European youth
Suicide is the number two killer among young people living in Europe, a recent Unicef report on the state of their mental health found. The ...
‘Too little, too late’: Brussels mayors criticise CST implementation
After a two week delay, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will become mandatory in several situations in Brussels from today (Friday). Some mayors blame a ...
Sciensano expert warns of rising Covid-19 cases this winter
The return of colder weather and the relaxing of health measures are giving rise to new Covid-19 contaminations and hospitalisations around Belgium, ...
Hospital food is making you sick, Belgian study shows
Eating hospital meals results in a measurable decline in health, according to a report from the Flemish television network VTM, which paints a ...
Belgium in Brief: Supply Issues
There are few things more jarring than walking into a store and finding that the shelves are empty, be that partially or otherwise. One thing ...
Stolen Magritte painting on display for first time in ten years
Surrealist painter René Magritte's work "Olympia", which made headlines across the world when it was stolen from a museum in Belgium in 2009, will be ...
Brussels airport pilots ’15 minute’ PCR test
Brussels Airport has announced that it will soon begin a trial of an ultra-fast PCR test able to detect Covid-19 in 15 minutes, a far faster ...
Over 1,000 demonstrators march in Brussels following sexual assault allegations
Around 1,300 people gathered in Ixelles on Thursday night to march against sexual violence, according to reporting from Bruzz. The march was ...
Covid Safe Ticket mandatory in Brussels, but no fines yet
The Brussels-Capital Region will expand the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) from today (Friday), but it will take a few days before rule-breakers ...
Belgium hosts ‘farewell party’ for Merkel today
Angela Merkel will be in Belgium on Friday for an official visit as a symbolic "farewell" before leaving her position as German Chancellor after 16 ...