Belgian hospitals demand mandatory vaccination for all healthcare staff
Share article:
Share article:

Belgian hospitals demand mandatory vaccination for all healthcare staff

Credit: Belga

Belgian hospitals and residential care centres are pleading for mandatory vaccination against the coronavirus of all care staff across the country, and are asking the Consultative Committee to make a decision on Friday.

“To reduce the coronavirus and provide safe care, it is necessary for the government to make vaccination obligatory for all employees in care facilities,” the care umbrella organisations, which include all hospitals and most residential care centres in Belgium, wrote in a joint press release on Tuesday.

The intended vaccination coverage rate of 70% is far from being achieved everywhere and in all occupational categories, according to recent report by Sciensano. Additionally, as the Delta variant is gaining ground, the umbrella organisations believe that the government must intervene.

“It is now clear that vaccination plays an extremely important role in preventing a fourth wave,” they wrote. “More and more studies are also pointing towards the need for a higher vaccination coverage than the original target of 70% for the whole population. Figures of 85-90% are now being put forward to reach the stage of group immunity.”

According to the sector, making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory “will create clarity and eliminate the tensions that currently exist between unvaccinated and vaccinated healthcare staff.”

Currently, Italy is the only EU country where vaccination is mandatory for healthcare workers, with a very positive result, as 98% of them have at least received their first vaccine dose.

The authorities should take action as soon as possible, according to Margot Cloet of the Flemish umbrella organisation Zorgnet-Icuro.

“We must first continue to raise awareness. To make vaccination compulsory, we have to talk to the trade unions. Ultimately, that has to be enshrined in a law,” she told VRT.

“We call on the Belgian authorities not to delay any longer and not to lose time. They can possibly decide on Friday at the Consultative Committee to go ahead with it.”

‘Political debate is needed’

A political debate about making the Covid-19 vaccination is needed, and the staff should also be involved in it, according to Corona Commissioner Pedro Facon.

On Monday evening, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that health workers in France would be obliged to be vaccinated, and a similar measure was announced in Greece.

French healthcare staff who have not been vaccinated by 15 September will no longer be allowed to work, and will not be paid, he announced during a press conference.

In Belgium, the authorities opted for voluntary vaccination, said Corona Commissioner Pedro Facon on Flemish radio on Tuesday morning.

Among healthcare providers, this is going very well for certain groups, but other groups such as physiotherapists, nurses or midwives are lagging behind, according to him.

Facon stressed that at the moment, about one million high-risk people (those over 65 years old, or with an underlying condition) are not yet fully vaccinated, but it is also important to vaccinate people who are less likely to get sick, such as teenagers, to reduce the circulation of the virus.

Latest news

Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Brussels bars linked to alleged sexual assault vouch to improve women’s safety
The management of the two bars in Ixelles, which made headlines in recent days after several young women reported that they had been drugged then ...
European Council: Decisions on Covid-19 and energy and debate on other issues
At the two-days summit which ended on Friday, the European Council adopted conclusions on COVID-19, digital, energy prices, migration, trade and ...
Flanders ‘water bomb’ could cause €2 billion in damages and affect thousands
The next "water bomb" or heavy rainfall over Flanders could cause damages estimated at around €2 billion, and could affect up to 100,000 people in ...
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in 5 to 11-year-olds
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the coronavirus in children aged five to 11, Pfizer announced on ...
Belgian airport named best for cargo in Europe
Brussels Airport has been named the best airport in Europe in a 2021 roundup of the best cargo airports across the world. The Asian Freight, ...
NASA plans first return mission to Moon in February 2022
The United States space agency, NASA, has announced that it will be aiming to launch its first, uncrewed mission to the moon, Artemis 1, in February ...
New, reportedly more contagious Delta mutation being monitored
A new mutation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious, is being monitored by health authorities in the ...
Angèle releases new single: ‘Bruxelles je t’aime’
Belgian singer Angèle has unveiled her latest song ahead of the release of her new album, due later this year. 'Bruxelles je t'aime' (Brussels I ...