Following the Brussels regional government’s announcement to make a health pass obligatory for entering restaurants and bars, Belgian students who were hesitant about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 are now in large numbers waiting in line to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
As of October 1, Belgium residents will have to show the health pass in order to be able to access restaurants, bars, and fitness clubs. Furthermore, citizens will also be required to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results while at trade fairs, Erudera.com reports.
According to official data, only 44 percent of 18-24 years old have already received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while in the neighboring Belgian region of Wallonia, 71 percent of the population of the same ages have been vaccinated with one dose.
“I am vaccinated so I am more in favour of vaccination but not at all for making it obligatory,” 23-year-old economy student Laura Facoetti told Reuters.
The Brussels government has come up with the approval of broader use of the health pass, whereas Flanders and Wallonia regions have not taken the same decision yet.
In order to tackle the low vaccination rates, Flemish authorities have decided to permit international students to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in Flanders. Following the decision, Flemish Minister of Health and Welfare Wouter Beke said that by vaccinating international students, other students, as well as international student’s family members, will be protected when the latter return home.
Press agency Belga has reported that Brussels Health Minister Alain Maron told the Brussels parliament that the region is planning to extend requirements for COVID Safe Ticket in October. Differently, a press release issued by the government said that the country has already begun work to prepare the ordinance, thus finalize the legal framework needed to implement the COVID Safe Ticket.
“The terms of application, in particular for determining their scope (sectors, special conditions, duration) will therefore be fixed when the preliminary draft ordinance is adopted at first reading, with regard to the epidemiological and vaccine situation in Brussels region,” the release states.
Last year, data from Belgium’s National Social Security Office (ONSS) revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic caused the loss of more than 100,000 student jobs in Belgium.
Over 8.2 million people in Belgium or 72 percent of the population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Currently, there are 1,215,114 COVID-19 cases in the country, 1,127,982 people have been recovered, while 25,486 deaths have been registered.