As Belgium begins to lift some of its lockdown restrictions, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has stressed that vaccinations remain a key to ending the pandemic.
“It is very clear that vaccination continues to be of vital importance,” De Croo said on Friday as he announced the plan to end the lockdown.
“There’s actually no real exit plan,” he said, “the real exit plan, which is the vaccination plan.”
As of March 8, people will be able to hang out with up to 10 others outside, but social distancing measures must still be followed and the face mask must still be worn.
The Prime Ministers comment on the importance of introducing vaccines as the Belgian Order of Doctors – an institution that requires all doctors to be registered to practice medicine – has warned that doctors who question the effects of coronavirus will be more stringent Vaccinations.
Doctors will “face strict measures against the dissemination of information, mainly through social media, that is not up to date with the latest scientific knowledge,” said the Order’s Vice President Dr. Michel Deneyer, opposite CNN on Friday.
Dr. Deneyer warned that “disinformation can have catastrophic consequences” and that “there is no doubt that doctors need to work together for the proposed vaccination program”.
The success of the Belgian vaccination campaign and the achievement of the national target of vaccinating 70% of the adult population “depends to a large extent on the (long-term) trust of the population and the medical corps,” he said.
“The population has great confidence in the family doctor, in the pharmacist, in the experts. Your advice will be followed, “added Deneyer.
Any doctor who spreads disinformation will face disciplinary proceedings before one of the Order’s ten local “provincial councils” and risk suspension for up to two months, he said.
Deneyer said that “some doctors” had already been suspended, but citing confidential information they could not confirm the exact figures.