No profession should get priority for vaccination, employers say

No profession should get priority for vaccination, employers say
Credit: Belga

Belgium's different health ministers are discussing a list of essential professions who will be given priority for a Covid-19 vaccine, but trade unions and employers stated that such a list is not a good idea.

People working is an essential profession should not get priority, and the population should get vaccinated according to the existing arrangements, the employers' organisation Verbond van Belgische Ondernemingen (VBO) stated.

"[Such a list] will inevitably lead to endless discussions," Kris De Meester of the VBO said on Flemish radio on Wednesday morning. "Not only between sectors, but also within sectors between the employees who will be offered the vaccination and their colleagues who will not."

A list of professions who will get priority is "not going to help us move forward," according to De Meester, who added that it will not strengthen the continuity of the sectors that they think they should be vaccinated first.

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On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee also stated that Olympic athletes should not be prioritised for vaccination, stressing the importance of quick vaccines for vulnerable groups, and healthcare workers.

However, several professions are campaigning to get vaccinated early, as they hold important functions and often come into contact with the population.

Police officers who provide first-line police care should be counted as such a priority group, according to Nico Paelinck, chairman of the Permanent Committee of the local police.

"We noticed that we were pushed back during testing and now we see that it is the same with the vaccination programme," he told VRT News.

Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts also advocated for designating teachers and other education staff as essential, so they can be vaccinated as a matter of priority.

However, vaccinating the population in the order that was initially discussed, by age group, among other things, will be the most efficient, according to De Meester.

"Respecting the order will lead us to the result we are working towards more quickly: that we can unload these difficult measures," he said.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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