Starting today pharmacies across Belgium will be offering free iodine tablets to anyone asking for them. This information has been confirmed by the office of the Interior Minister Jan Jambon.
The measures are part of the Nuclear Emergency Plan that comes into effect today. The plan provides for the distribution of iodine tablets, free of charge, to anyone living within 100 kilometres of a nuclear power station, which effectively covers the whole country. Interior Minister, Jan Jambon (Flemish nationalist), and Federal Health Minister, Maggie De Block, are launching a new awareness campaign today to coincide with the new emergency plan.
Iodine pills should be taken in the event of a nuclear accident in order to prevent people from getting thyroid cancer. Those living in the direct vicinity of nuclear facilities will be required by to keep the tablets at their homes.
Elsewhere in the country this only applies to children, pregnant women, women that are breast feeding, etc. However, pharmacists will also dispense the tablets to people that don’t belong to these groups, if they request them.