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Belgian vaccination turns into a political issue

The good progress of the vaccination campaign conditions social peace but also good understanding between Walloons, Flemings and Brussels.

Max HELLEFF

Max HELLEFF

The good progress of the vaccination campaign conditions social peace but also good understanding between Walloons, Flemings and Brussels.

From our correspondent Max HELLEFF (Brussels) – Year in and year out, vaccination has taken off in Belgium. However, we are impatiently awaiting here as elsewhere the decision of the European Medicines Agency which, on Tuesday, will evaluate the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, suspected of causing serious blood clots.

But vaccination has also become a guarantee of social peace. Last Wednesday, the Belgian authorities postponed the reopening of the hospitality industry from May 1 to 8, while attaching conditions. In particular, a sufficient number of adult Belgians must have been vaccinated so that restaurants and cafes can once again welcome the public outdoors. The grumbling which is going to crescendo, the threats which are formulated to reopen in spite of everything on May 1st in various parts of the country, no longer leave room for improvisation.

In Liège, a collective has gradually been organized against the decisions of the Consultative Committee (Codeco) which sets health measures. He hopes to stain the oil well.

Liège, nicknamed the Cité ardente, is used to the rebellion against “Brussels”. Not “European” Brussels, but the seat of the federal government. Liège was a hotbed of the strikes of the winter of 1960-1961 and some today dream of another glorious rebellion. In the columns of Evening, the philosopher Edouard Delruelle analyzes: “Liège, which is the only true Walloon metropolis, has a large young population and, more generally, inhabitants who organize their social life in cafes and restaurants more than in other cities. As such, the center could be marked on May 1st with a spontaneous festive spirit which risks degenerating if it is not well managed by the police… ”.

However, the socialist mayor Willy Demeyer did not reverse his decision: failing to have sufficient police resources, he will not prevent the opening of the terraces on May 1.

The opposite side puts it into perspective: “In two months, everyone will have forgotten this agitation to know whether to open the terraces a week earlier or later. The question is whether we will have gone through this crisis without further damage, ”said Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke in The Echo. “The discipline has become daily, even if it is not always pleasant. Now we have to apply what has been agreed in unison. ” Question of “solidarity”, adds the Flemish socialist.

For some, this definition of solidarity must be reviewed in the light of “community”, the eternal relationship of enemy brothers between Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels without which Belgium would not be Belgium. For Brussels Minister Alain Maron, the capital is wronged. He asks for a new sharing of the vaccine booty for the benefit of the capital.

And for the rest, the delivery of 1.2 million Pfizer doses ahead of schedule is fatally welcomed as, according to some sources, a parallel market is taking place. Pharmacists have been approached to sell vaccines under wraps, in exchange for sums of up to 500 euros. In vaccination centers, labels are now removed from empty vials to prevent them from fueling illegal trafficking.


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