Belgium’s equality body warns of vaccine discrimination

While vaccination is not compulsory in Belgium, making access to goods and services conditional on vaccination could have the same result as compulsory vaccination, the body argued. [EPA-EFE/Olivier Matthys]

Refusing access to goods or services to non-vaccinated people could count as discriminatory, Belgium’s equality centre Unia (Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism) stated in an opinion sent to the country’s various authorities.

While vaccination is not compulsory in Belgium, making access to goods and services conditional on vaccination could have the same result as compulsory vaccination, the body argued.

Unia underlined the importance of this question for access to certain places or services (hospitals, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums, transport, sports halls, etc.), participation in certain activities (internships, training, events, holiday camps, sports clubs, volunteering, etc.) or a face-to-face return to school.

According to Unia, it becomes more problematic when certain groups come into the picture that cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons, their living conditions, or religious beliefs.

“Under no circumstances, in the absence of a legal obligation, may the employer make the access of customers dependent on their vaccination status,” the opinion stated.

“For these groups, denying access to goods or services can be seen as a form of discrimination,” Unia said.

(Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)

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