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Making vaccination mandatory should not be taboo, says Beke

Credit: Belga

Making vaccination against the coronavirus virus mandatory in Flanders should not be a taboo subject, according to Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke.

“In recent weeks we have mobilised, raised awareness and encouraged, with success,” Beke told VRT on Friday. “Compulsory vaccination is certainly on the table, but there are still many questions to be answered.”

“For me, at least, making vaccination compulsory is not a taboo.,” he said, while also adding that a lot of progress has already been made without an obligation: in mid-July, 83% of the care staff in Flanders was vaccinated, today it is 92%.

Doctors appear to have been vaccinated most often of all professional groups, but vaccination is also going smoothly among the rest of the Flemish population. 90% of adults have already received at least one shot, and about 60% have been fully vaccinated.

Translation: “With a vaccination rate of 92%, the Flemish healthcare professionals from primary care opted en masse for the vaccine. Thank you! However, our vaccination campaign is not over yet and I call on everyone else to get vaccinated too. Only together can we defeat the virus.”

Those under 18 years old are doing well too, as 100,000 of the 140,000 teenagers aged 16 and 17 have already received their first injection.

Young people between 12 and 15 years old have all received their invitations and 30% of them already have their first vaccination. “July was the month of the second shot,” said Beke.

Discussions about a possible third dose are ongoing, and Flanders is still waiting for the product description from Pfizer, among other things, according to him.

“Once we have that, we will be able to make decisions. Among other things, who should get a third injection or a booster shot,” Beke said.

Only then will it be possible to determine which vaccination centres will be used for this. “If that extra dose will come, it will probably be before 2022,” he added.