Criticism grows for compulsory vaccination

Criticism grows for compulsory vaccination
Credit: Belga/Hatim Kaghat

Belgium’s Mouvement Réformateur (MR) has also spoken out against compulsory vaccination in Belgium, joining Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) in openly opposing a nationwide vaccine mandate.

Speaking on Sunday on the RTL-TVI’s weekly ‘C’est pas tous les jours dimanche’ programme, MR’s David Clarinval, Minister for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, said his party was “on the same wavelength as Alexander De Croo.”

“We think it’s a false good idea,” he said.

On Friday, after a debate lasting over 12 hours, the Federal Government reached an agreement on the rules for compulsory vaccination for healthcare workers. However, it failed to reach a consensus on compulsory vaccination for the entire population and requested that Corona Commissioner Pedro Facon present a report on the subject by 15 January 2022.

Belgium’s ruling coalition is divided on the issue. The Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) party have come out strongly in favour of mandatory vaccination for all. The Liberals, on the other hand, are opposed to the measure.

Ethical and practical considerations

Speaking on the matter, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said that “Philosophically, I was always sceptical about compulsory vaccination for all, but I’ve changed my mind… With the Delta variant, we know that everyone needs to be vaccinated, without exception.”

The third wing of the federal majority, the Greens, also commented on the issue. Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter said on VRT that the focus should be “on persuasion,” adding that she “would like to wait for the ethical analyses.”

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Contacted by Belga News Agency, Ecolo’s Georges Gilkinet said that the discussion of mandatory vaccination was inevitable. “We need to do it seriously and methodically, to make decisions on options with full knowledge of the issues,” he stressed.

“That’s why I asked for and obtained in Wednesday’s Consultative Committee a study on the practical and ethical consequences of such a measure,” he explained. “That is what a final decision will be based on. In the meantime, we need to keep informing the population and trying to convince it.”

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