Rob Engelaar

“There’s no place in care for people who don’t get vaccinated”

Belgian hospitals have issued a recommendation to federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist/Vooruit).  Hospital chiefs want to be able to suspend and possibly sack staff that don’t get immunised against coronavirus.

At the end of October Belgian governments decided that all care staff must be vaccinated against coronavirus. For the measure to be introduced this requires an advice from the National Labour Council that groups employers and unions.  Belgian hospitals have now indicated that they support mandatory vaccination for care staff. 

Margot Cloet of Zorgnet-Icuro, the largest Flemish network of hospitals and care homes: “We’re asking that by law care staff must be vaccinated”.

Staff that don’t want to get the jab immediately should be given two or three months to consider the matter, but after that they face the sack. Before staff are dismissed, they would be suspended for six months. “During this period they can consider the matter or look for other work.  But for us it’s quite clear, there’s no place in care for people who don’t get vaccinated” says Cloet.  

Vaccination rates among Flemish care workers are high: some 95%, but Cloet says the small minority that won’t get the jab forms a great risk for residents, patients and staff: “We must make every effort to get a 100% vaccination rate among care staff. We must set an example.”

Unions oppose mandatory vaccination and dismissal of the unvaccinated.  It’s now up to the Belgian government to decide.

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