Belgium not lagging behind rest of EU for vaccinations, Vandenbroucke stresses
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Belgium not lagging behind rest of EU for vaccinations, Vandenbroucke stresses

Credit: Belga

Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke disagrees with the criticism that Belgium is vaccinating the population too slowly compared to the other Member States of the EU.

Responding to criticism that almost all EU countries are doing a lot better on the vaccination front, Vandenbroucke said that “we should stop saying that other countries are faster.”

He referred to the EU’s official “vaccine tracker,” a website which shows the percentage of the population, per member state, that has already received its first vaccine dose.

On 4 February, the tracker showed that Belgium had vaccinated 3.1% of its population against Covid-19, better than neighbouring countries Germany and France (both 2.8%), Luxembourg (2.3%), and the Netherlands (1.1%).

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“Please stop with the story that our country is lagging completely behind,” Vandenbroucke said, referring to the lower vaccination rates among Belgium’s neighbours.

Vandenbroucke, however, also said that, of all EU countries, only Denmark (4.1%), Romania (3.7%) and Poland (3.2%) are currently doing better than Belgium.

But according to the EU tracker, Ireland (4.1%), Iceland (3.8%), Finland (3.3%) and Sweden (3.2%) are also doing better, even though the difference is less than 1 percentage point.

The EU’s figures show that Belgium is definitely not lagging behind, even if it is not leading the charge either. “That does not mean it is all sunshine and roses, but we are not behind at all.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times