Flemish authorities have decided to allow international students and teachers to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Flanders, a move that aims to increase the vaccination rates in the region.
Flemish Health and Welfare Minister Wouter Beke told journalists that the level of vaccination is somewhat lower in Flanders compared to larger cities in the country, Erudera.com reports.
“By vaccinating foreign students in the city where they are studying, we not only protect them, but also their fellow students and families when they return home,” Health and Welfare Minister Wouter Beke stressed.
Following the decision, Flemish authorities have required international students and teachers who have already taken a COVID-19 vaccine in another country to provide documents that show that they are vaccinated.
Students or staff who have been fully vaccinated with an EMA-approved vaccine will have their vaccination details included in the Vaccinnet, whereas those who have been fully vaccinated with a non-EMA-approved vaccine must follow the travel rules in place, and get vaccinated in Flanders.
On the other hand, students or teachers who have not been fully vaccinated or have received a single dose of any of the COVID-19 vaccines are also obliged to follow the same rules that apply to other international travelers who are in the same situation, nevertheless, the Flemish Health and Care Agency will offer vaccination to the latter as well.
All the categories will have their vaccination details entered in the Vaccinet; as a result, an EU Digital Vaccination Certificate will be created.
“Students are a large part of the population in our university towns. It is therefore normal for us to offer them the opportunity to be vaccinated. That way, we also protect each other,” Minister Beke added.
Students and staff are expected to be vaccinated in the vaccination centers or in their educational institutions. Those who arrive in Flanders at the beginning of the academic year might have the chance to be vaccinated two times as the vaccination centers will be open until mid-October. As per those who arrive later to Flanders, the ministry will initiate other vaccination options.
There were 129,092 students in total pursuing higher studies in Flanders during the 2020/21 academic year, up from 124,766 students in 2019/20.
During other academic years, the number of students enrolled in university education in Flanders was as follows:
- 116,084 students in 2016/17
- 118,163 students in 2017/18
- 120,300 students in 2018/19
Currently, there are 1,205,516 Coronavirus cases in Belgium, 1,105,366 people have been recovered while the number of deaths has reached 25,454.