'We can't fail the vaccine stage', opposition leader warns

'We can't fail the vaccine stage', opposition leader warns
Credit: Belga

“We can’t fail the vaccine stage,” warned François De Smet, president of DéFI (a francophone political party), on La Première ahead of an interministerial public health conference today.

"If we fail the vaccine stage, if we are below the 60 to 70% of people who are vaccinated, it will not be effective and we will remain in this in-between period” of going in and out of lockdown. “And since we screwed up the testing and the tracing, we can be worried,” De Smet warned.

The inter-ministerial health committee scheduled for Wednesday could define the vaccination strategy for Belgium, while several orders for vaccines have already been placed by the federal government.

De Smet said he hopes "that all the inhabitants of this country will have the right to a vaccine of the same quality" and calls on all the parties and active forces in the country to engage in "a pro-vaccine campaign.”

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“The vaccination policy is unfortunately once again very complicated,” he lamented. “The federal government is responsible for orders and authorisations, the regions for vaccination of the over-18s, and the communities are responsible for prevention. We are typically facing a Belgian challenge.”

The DéFI president also was critical towards francophone liberal leader Georges-Louis Bouchez and socialist leader Paul Magnette, both of whom alluded to a relaxation of the measures for the Christmas holidays, while Prime Minister Alexander De Croo assured that Belgium’s rules won’t change again this year.

In De Smet’s opinion, Bouchez and Magnette are “doing more harm than good” by making such statements.

“One of the few certainties we have about this virus is that intergenerationality, spending time with the family, is the best propagator,” he continued. “If we don't want to catch a third wave, we absolutely must not give false hope and stay, for the Christmas holidays, on this hard line.”

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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