“The Brussels figure is identical to that of London, Paris, Amsterdam or Rotterdam” says Dr Marc Noppen, CEO of Brussels University Hospital. “It’s a phenomenon we encounter in big cities”.
Dr Noppen is eager to see the Brussels figure shoot higher, but acknowledges this won’t be easy to achieve.
“Vaccines are safe and efficient. We must give people accurate information”.
Hospitals in Brussels have higher numbers of corona patients than in other parts of the country. Scientists point to low take-up of the vaccine among young people in the capital.
Boudewijn Catry, epidemiologist at science health institute Sciensano, says most patients have not been vaccinated: “We must draw people’s attention to this fact.”
The scientist calls for local action targeting young people and people returning home from holiday at the end of the summer.
Dr Noppen suggests youngsters could be convinced by ‘rewarding’ them with a corona pass that would give access to restaurants and music festivals.
“There is a group that is vehemently anti-vaccine. You won’t convince them with rational arguments. For people who are antivaxxer on principle: no mercy!”
Epidemiologist Boudewijn Catry is particularly worried about vaccination levels among care staff.
“I would suggest we dialog with the staff. They are skilled people with a scientific background.”
He believes people could be convinced by allowing them to choose their brand of vaccine.
Dr Noppen points to staff vaccination levels in care homes: “It’s under 50%. We really can’t tolerate this.”
The hospital chief believes health care staff should be obliged to take the vaccine.