In Belgium 3 doses of the polio vaccine must be given before the age of 18 months and this has been required by Belgian ‘royal decree’ since 1966. Many attempts have been made to change this ‘Law of 1966’ but to no avail (French).
The ONE (Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance, Belgian National Bureau for Childbirth and Childhood governing French-speaking Belgium) requires vaccinations for entry to all of its registered French-speaking nurseries and childcare centres. Tetanus is NOT required but in practice, it is always included in the multivalent vaccine given. Haemophilus influenza b is also included for the first round of vaccines which, according to the Belgian vaccination schedule, means a total of 4 doses plus a minimum of one dose of the MMR. That adds up to 9 different vaccines in all (polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib, Hep B, measles, mumps, rubella).
Theoretically, the ONE allows exemptions for medical contraindications but in practice, these are rarely accepted because the ONE’s consultant paediatricians routinely dismiss medical certificates signed by the local GP, claiming there is a contraindication to vaccination. They usually take this decision without having seen the child.
The Hepatitis B vaccine is also mandatory for medical students of all kinds and salaried medical personnel working in hospitals, laboratories or dental surgeries. The vaccine is also mandatory for all employees working in mental institutions, embalmers in funeral parlours, zoo or animal centre workers who may come in contact with anthropoids and any employee whose job may require him to travel to or stay for a period of time in an area where Hepatitis B is prevalent (Southeast Asia or Africa). The law of 1999 making this vaccine mandatory does however include a clause whereby an exemption may be obtained in the case of a medical contraindication. Again, although it is only the Hepatitis B vaccine which is required, it is usually the TWINRIX (Hepatitis A and B) vaccine which is administered by the company doctor.
Laboratory workers and soldiers are also required to get vaccines such as Typhoid and others but these are not required for everyone and it can also depend on the specific terms of the contract signed. Students who spend part of their education in hospital (nurses, psychology students etc.) equally are required to have the hepatitis B-vaccination.
In Flanders, some courts have started to convict the accused but with no subsequent fine or police record. One court even adopted the policy of proposing to pay a small fine (150,00 €) instead of a court case, with no further prosecution.
The ONE (Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance, Belgian National Bureau for Childbirth and Childhood governing French-speaking Belgium) requires vaccinations against polio, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis) for entry to all of its registered French-speaking nurseries and childcare centres.
Adverse event following immunisation public reporting system
Since 2015, Belgians can enter the details of any vaccine (or drug) side effects on the Agence Fédérale Belge du Médicament et des Produits de Santé (Belgian Federal Medicines and Health Product Agency) website, using this link and specifying whether it is a patient or a doctor reporting.