The vaccine against the coronavirus will be administered free of charge and on a voluntary basis to Belgian citizens, once it is available, the federal ministers and federated entities in charge of health in Belgium said on Monday.
“The objective will be to vaccinate at least 8 million Belgians”, according to a statement from the Belgian authorities.
It will still be necessary to determine the population groups which will have priority, notes the same source, specifying that “this will be done on the basis of scientific advice” and a “societal debate”.
The entire vaccine program against Covid-19 in Belgium will be co-financed by the federal authority and the federated entities. To steer the operation, a taskforce “operationalizing the Covid-19 vaccination strategy” will be created within the government commissioner responsible for managing the coronavirus crisis.
This taskforce will be responsible for determining, assigning and supporting all the actions necessary to achieve the vaccination strategy. It will be made up of scientists, representatives of the authorities of federated and federal entities, crisis managers and, where necessary, representatives of professional organizations and technical working groups, according to the press release.
Within this taskforce, a specific “societal debate and communication” unit will be responsible for rationalizing and coordinating scientific and public communication.
“The Covid-19 vaccination itself is a complex and unique challenge for many countries, including Belgium. Only proactive and effective cooperation between the federal government and the federated entities can successfully complete this vaccination, ”the Belgian authorities underlined.
For its vaccine supply, Belgium participates in the European advance purchasing procedure in which the European Commission negotiates with several pharmaceutical companies on behalf of the Member States. Four contracts have already been signed at European level. The purchase will only materialize if the vaccines currently being tested are found to be effective and safe and are approved for sale in the EU.