Over 4,000 healthcare workers protested in Brussels against the federal government’s decision to make vaccinations compulsory for all medical staff.
Medical employees who refuse the vaccine are set to be fined, and could face temporary suspension, Xinhua news agency reported.
Protesters denounced compulsory vaccination as “discriminatory” and “unproductive,” with some placards reading “we need more common sense” and “let’s save our health care system instead of dismissing staff.”
“Everyone has the right to choose, but the threats of dismissal hanging over the staff are unacceptable. We are already short-staffed. If we lay off, it will be a disaster and people will be even less motivated to enter this profession,” said Raphael Meys, a hospital employee in the province of Liege.
On November 19, the federal government passed a bill on compulsory vaccination for healthcare workers.
From January 1, nursing staff will have three months to get vaccinated.
From April 1, in the event of non-compliance with the new vaccination obligation, staff will be deprived of their visa or registration number, and may therefore be dismissed.
The organisers of the protest (the common union front) have held a meeting with the chief of staff of the Minister of Health Franck Vandenbroucke, and another meeting has also been scheduled for next week.