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14 Dec, 2021 12:58

Poll shows how many Belgians are OK with restrictions for unvaxxed

Poll shows how many Belgians are OK with restrictions for unvaxxed

Austria-style restrictions for people unvaccinated against Covid-19 would be opposed by just a quarter of Belgians, while the overwhelming majority would approve of such measures, if they were introduced in their country.

The public attitude to the controversial approach was measured by an Ipsos opinion poll conducted in Belgium in early December at the request of news outlets Le Soir and RTL. According to the results, 68% of Belgians would support restricting vaccine refuseniks from entering public spaces, while only 22% said they rejected the idea.

The support for a ban was somewhat stronger in the northern Flemish region of Flanders. There, 71% of people favored the idea, compared to 62% in southern Francophone Wallonia. Flanders has the greatest vaccination rates of any Belgian region.

Opposition to snubbing the unvaxxed was strongest in Brussels, where 27% of the people polled spoke against it, compared to just 20% in Flanders. Younger people, who tend to have lower vaccination rates, unsurprisingly spoke against the idea in greater numbers than their older fellow citizens.

Belgium is to consider next week whether to make vaccines against Covid-19 mandatory for more categories of people. The mandate has already been put in place for healthcare workers starting from January 2022, with several months of grace period to comply. The dismissal of refuseniks is to commence in April.

There is concern that the policy would cause an exodus of vaccine skeptics from hospitals, resulting in a shortage of staff. Last week, some 4,000 healthcare workers opposing the decision tried to storm the office of the health minister.