Prioritising vaccines for teachers will not prevent clusters among children, Health Minister warns
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Prioritising vaccines for teachers will not prevent clusters among children, Health Minister warns

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Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke refrained on Sunday from supporting a request by the country’s education ministers for priority to be given to the vaccination of teachers against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“It’s not by vaccinating teachers that you’re going to limit clusters in schools, because these are clusters that develop among children,” Minister Vandenbroucke said on the RTL-TVi’s interview and discussion programme “C’est pas tous les jours Dimanche.”

He insisted on the existing vaccination strategy, under which the most vulnerable groups are treated first, based on their ages and health condition, “which will take weeks more.”

The Education Ministers of Belgium’s three linguistic communities, Caroline Désir, Ben Weyts and Lydia Klinkenberg, asked the Federal Government last week to consider teachers a priority group for vaccination against COVID-19.

They made the request in a letter to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Public Health Minister Vandenbroucke.

On Friday, the Consultative Committee tasked the Education Ministers with drawing up a list of short-term measures to limit the risk of infections in schools, and present it on Monday.

The Committee has already decided to make face masks compulsory in the 5th and 6th grades of primary school, and to postpone the return to in-person learning until after the Eastern Holidays. In-person learning in the upper secondary classes had previously been scheduled for 29 March.

An increasing trend can be observed in Belgium: children catch the virus in school and transmit it to their parents who, if they are not working from home, spread it in their places of work.

The Brussels Times