Nicolas Maeterlinck

Experts not in favour of compulsory vaccination

Over the past few days, the suggestion has been made from certain quarters that vaccination with a coronavirus vaccine should be made compulsory. However, experts such as the vaccinologist Pierre Van Damme and the virologist Steven Van Gucht don’t share this view. They say that the possibility of making vaccination compulsory has been discussed but after long consideration was rejected. 

Speaking on VRT television’s daily current affairs programme ‘Terzake’ Professor Van Damme (photo above) said “Personally I am not in favour. We should do all we can to ensure that people can take a well-informed decision. This is very important as it means that those that get vaccinated are motivated to do so. They know why they are doing it, and this will have an influence on their entourage. They will encourage others to get vaccinated. If you make it compulsory people will do it because they have to, and this will fuel resistance to the vaccine”.

Professor Van Damme went on to explain that this is why the authorities have opted to inform and raise awareness among the general public on the advantages of getting vaccinated.

"We need to address the doubts about the vaccine. We can perfectly explain how the vaccine was developed and maybe we should explain in simple language how it is that a vaccine was developed so quickly”.

Professor Steven Van Gucht agrees "If you make the vaccine compulsory you will simply feed anti-vaccination sentiment. There would be an apparent short-term quick win, but it could be very damaging in the long term. However, the readiness to get vaccinated in Belgium, certainly in Flanders, is not so bad. The percentage of people that refuse won’t be big”.


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