The Antwerp hospital group ZNA is only taking on new employees who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to reporting from VRT.
The regulation applies to all jobs in the hospital network, not just to care staff.
A law is currently being drafted to make vaccination against Covid-19 obligatory for all care personnel, but the Antwerp hospital group doesn’t want to wait for that, the Antwerp alderman for health care and ZNA chairman Els van Doesburg (N-VA) said.
“We already have a high vaccination rate of 95 percent at ZNA. We wouldn’t want to pull that nice figure down by employing people who are not vaccinated,” said van Doesburg, who added that they haven’t yet had to turn anyone away in the month since the policy first went into place.
The vaccination requirement doesn’t apply to those who are already working for the hospital group.
There’s some legal discussion about the legality of the measure, as the law requiring the vaccine for care staff hasn’t yet been put into place.
Van Doesburg is asking that Belgium’s Federal Minister of Public Health Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) create that legal framework quickly.
“You now notice in people who are fully vaccinated that the strength of the vaccine can decrease after some time,” van Doesburg said.
“In a hospital, you’re dealing with the most vulnerable people. We have to protect those people and our staff. If you come to apply to a hospital and you want to work in healthcare, you are not suitable to come and work with us if you are not vaccinated.”
Hospitals in the ZNA network are asking that everyone who applies for a job is vaccinated against Covid-19, even for positions that don’t involve direct contact with patients.
“In a hospital, you work in a chain,” it was explained. “It is not the case that the nurses never come into contact with the administration.”