Vandenbroucke wants free PCR tests, but not for those who refused vaccination

Vandenbroucke wants free PCR tests, but not for those who refused vaccination
Credit: Belga

People who have not had the chance to get vaccinated yet should get free PCR tests this summer, while those who refused to get the jab should pay the full price, according to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

Due to the delay in vaccine deliveries, many people will have to rely on a negative PCR test to be allowed to travel this summer, he said in the Health Commission on Tuesday.

Vandenbroucke said that he was "pleading with the government to make PCR tests available" to those who have not yet had the opportunity to get vaccinated.

"In my opinion, those people are entitled to a cheap or free test," he said, adding that this would not be true "for those who have refused vaccination."

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The standard price for a PCR test in Belgium is €46.81, but some hospitals charge up to €90 to take and process the test. "We are going to have to make sure that people with little money can also afford a PCR test," Vandenbroucke said.

Last weekend, he already told VTM News that the €100 million that the EU had made available to make the tests cheaper was "not enough."

"I think that, since we have not finished the vaccination campaign, we as a government should make these tests available at a lower cost this summer," Vandenbroucke said, adding that the tests are expensive, especially for families with several children wanting to go on a family holiday.

"Almost all countries will demand a test. That is why I think we should make it cheap," he added.

On Tuesday morning, Belgium's State Secretary for Relaunch Thomas Dermine also stated on Francophone radio that free PCR tests could be a possibility for certain groups of people who have not had access to vaccination yet, such a young people.

However, he also acknowledged "that there will need to be a limit to that, to prevent certain people from taking advantage of the system."

A decision is expected to be made at the Consultative Committee on Friday, where the EU 'Digital Covid Certificate' and its Belgian modalities, which includes the testing policy, will be one of the main topics on the agenda.

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