“However, even that still seems a bit on the low side. We see that epidemiological situations are easier to control once you pass the 40% to 50% vaccination rate mark,” Vlieghe said.
Both countries can’t be compared for the relaxation of such measures specifically for vaccinated people, as not everyone has had the chance to be vaccinated in Belgium, whereas in the US, they have. Vlieghe argued that “we should therefore be careful with rules that divide society.”
She added that, because this measure was implemented as a response to the epidemic in Belgium, it was never meant to be permanent, but they can only be abandoned once the epidemic is “sufficiently well or permanently under control.”
Can face masks be abolished for children?
Meanwhile, Belgium’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Caroline Vrijens, specifically called for compulsory face masks for pupils in the fifth and sixth grades to be abolished, arguing that there are many risks associated with them for younger people.
“There is a risk of anxiety induction in children, it also negatively affects communication at school and in public spaces due to the loss of non-verbal communication. But there is also the possible impact on the mental well-being of children,” Vrijens told Radio 1.
However, Vlieghe said it is also too early to consider abolishing this measure in schools, explaining that “the number of infections in classes is increasing. Risks and inconveniences must be weighed against each other all the time.”