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Vaccination fraud at West Flemish seaside resort

The wives of firemen in the West Flemish coastal municipality of Middelkerke were put on list that gave them priority to receive a coronavirus vaccine. As fire-fighters their husbands were entitled to vaccinated before the lion’s share of the general public as they work in an essential service that involves them having a lot of contact with the public at large. 

This is the latest of a string of incidents of coronavirus queue-jumping that have come to light in recent days. It was the Commandant of the local Fire Service in Middelkerke that put forward the women’s names alongside those of their husbands. The list was then approved by the local Health and Safety Advisor and the women were vaccinated long before they otherwise would have been.

At the end of February, the vaccination centre that serves Middelkerke asked for a list to be drawn up of people that could be vaccinated if there was a surplus of the AstraZeneca vaccine at the centre. The idea was to prioritise people that through the nature of their work run a greater risk than others of becoming infected with coronavirus. These include fire-fighters, police officers and teachers.

The Fire Service Commandant in Middelkerke put not only the names of his firemen, but also those of their wives onto the list. The local Health and Safety Advisor approved the list, and it was passed on to the vaccination centre unchanged.  

Later, the doctor in charge at the vaccination centre sent an email protesting against the vaccination of the firemen’s wives. Despite this they were vaccinated.

The local  cabinet in Middelkerke has initiated disciplinary proceedings against the Fire Service Commandant and the Health and Safety Advisor. The Mayor of Middelkerke Jean-Marie Dedecker (List Dedecker) told VRT News that “I deeply regret this because it is unjust towards, for example teachers. This is a major ethical error and in fact displays a total lack of ethics. Especially as the list was approved by the Health and Safety Advisor who is the Fire Service Commandant’s son. His own wife was vaccinated too”. 

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