Vaccine in Belgium will be free, but not compulsory

The goal will be to vaccinate at least 8 million Belgians, which is 70% of the population, according to a statement released Monday by the authorities. [Shutterstock/Natthaphon Chunchiew]

When available, the COVID-19 vaccines will be administered on a voluntary basis and free of charge for anyone living or staying in Belgium, the country’s various ministers in charge of health agreed.

The goal will be to vaccinate at least eight million Belgians, or 70% of the population, according to a statement released Monday by the authorities.

For that, the plan is that priority groups will be determined on the basis of scientific advice and a “public debate”.

As the vaccines will consist of multidose vials to be administered on the same day, citizens will be vaccinated in groups as much as possible.

To steer the roll-out of the vaccination program, a task force titled “Operationalization of COVID-19 vaccination strategy” is being set up, which will be tasked with determining, allocating and supporting all necessary actions to realize the vaccination strategy.

This task force will consist of scientists, representatives from federal and state government services, crisis managers, and representatives from professional organisations and technical working groups.

Belgium’s health institute Sciensano and the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products are working together on a surveillance plan, while the Flemish Vaccine Network will be used, which will be extended to all federal states.

(Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)

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