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Genk pupils become the first in Flanders to be offered coronavirus jabs at school

The Limburg city of Genk has become the first in our region to offer coronavirus vaccines in schools. Vaccination levels in Genk are 5% bellow the average for Flanders as whole. Among secondary school children this is 15%. In an effort to try and narrow the gap, since Monday morning pupils have been given the chance to get a coronavirus vaccine at school. The first school in Genk to offer its pupils coronavirus jabs is the GO! BUSO secondary school. 

The school’s headmaster Wilfried Steegmans told VRT News that “The jab is being administered in our own medical room. The number of youngsters being vaccinated this morning is between 10 and 15.”

At the start of the school year last Wednesday just 65% of children in Genk between the ages of 12 and 17 had been vaccinated. This compares with an average of 80% in Flanders as a whole.

The Mayor of Genk Wim Dries (Christian democrat) told VRT News “We want to do all we can to push up the vaccination rate”. 

It was Mr Dries that took the initiative for the school vaccination scheme. “There are currently around 1,500 pupils at schools in Genk that have not yet been vaccinated against coronavirus. By taking the vaccination centre into the 9 secondary school we hope to reach at least half of them”, the Mayor said.

Letter to parents

The Headmaster of the GO! BUSO secondary school told VRT News that “The percentage of pupils at our school that have been vaccinated is around 80%. This isn’t illogical given that a lot of our pupils are from vulnerable groups or have family members that have underlying medical conditions. In general, most of the pupils here were positive about the vaccine. During the vacation campaign we have always made efforts to inform them.  As pupils under the age of 16 need parental consent in order to be vaccinated we gave them a letter that they had to return signed by last Friday. In addition to this, mentors have been in contact with pupils’ families”

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