Brussels and Wallonia want teachers on priority list for Covid-19 vaccine
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Brussels and Wallonia want teachers on priority list for Covid-19 vaccine

Credit: Belga

If Belgium decides to reinstitute a list of essential professions that should get priority for a Covid-19 vaccine, the French-speaking Community government wants teachers to be included on it.

While the Francophone government announced on Thursday that it understands the Interministerial Health Conference’s decision not to create a list of essential professions at the moment, it also stated that teaching staff should be included if such a list is ever considered again.

“The protection of these people at risk must remain an absolute priority,” a press release states. “If a vaccination phase reserved for essential functions is implemented after all, the government will continue to defend the consideration of teaching staff in this respect.”

Additionally, if it is not possible to vaccinate all of them, the French-speaking Community demands that staff who have the highest-risk contacts with pupils will be included, “at the very least.”

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In December, Flanders had also asked for teaching staff to be included on the list of professions who would get priority access to vaccination.

“Teachers and education staff, who are in constant contact each day with dozens of young people, should be part of this group,” Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts said then. “Keeping the schools open is of the utmost importance for the whole of society.”

Last weekend, however, Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke confirmed that a list of “essential professions” who would be given priority, will no longer be drawn up.

Only police officers in intervention units, and therefore regularly come into contact with the public, will get priority, as was announced by the Vaccination Taskforce on Saturday.

“There are many high-risk professions where people have contact with others,” Beke told VRT. “The Supreme Council for Prevention and Protection at Work had advised against making a distinction.”

Belgium follows that advice to a large extent, only making an exception for the operational police, “because we ask them to participate in the quarantine checks,” he added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times