By: Shana Jacobs, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
On Monday November 16, the Belgian government announced their plans to give the COVID-19 vaccine free for its citizens. At an inter-ministerial health conference, the Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke communicated that vaccinations will be free for all citizens. On top of this, the vaccine will not be mandatory.
“The objective is to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the population”, with, “Priority groups…determined on the basis of scientific opinion and social debate,” stated Frank Vandenbroucke.
At the moment, Belgium has one of the worst death rates per million residents in the whole of Europe. With a population of 11.5 million and almost 540,000 registered cases of Covid-19, there are more than 14,000 deaths (as of November 16th).
Belgium also faced a second wave COVID-19 cases just last month and is currently back into complete lockdown. Therefore, the pandemic is a main priority for the country and the vaccine is well received.
Belgium has “signed up to receive 7.7 million doses from AstraZeneca (administered in two doses) and a further 5.5 million from Johnson & Johnson” the national news agency Belga reported.
Belgium announced they expect the first vaccines to be available early next year.