IMPORTANT NOTE: This information provides a snapshot of the European situation in September 2023. Please note that for more specific and up-to-date information on a single country, it is advisable to contact the local organisations.
In Belgium it is mandatory to administer 3 doses of polio vaccine before 18 months of age, as required by the Belgian "royal decree" of 1966. Many attempts have been made to change this "law of 1966", but to no avail.
The ONE (Office de la Naissance et de l'Enfance, the Belgian national office for childbirth and childhood which governs French-speaking Belgium) requires vaccinations for entry into all French-speaking nurseries and childcare centers sign in. Tetanus is NOT mandatory, but in practice it is always included in the multivalent vaccine administered. Haemophilus influenza b is also included in the first round of vaccines which, according to the Belgian vaccination calendar, means a total of 4 doses plus a minimum of one dose of MMR. In total, therefore, 9 different vaccines (poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella).
In theory, ONE allows exemptions for medical contraindications, but in practice these are rarely accepted because ONE consultant paediatricians routinely refuse medical certificates signed by the local GP. Usually the refusal of medical certifications with exemptions are rejected by the ONE without ever having examined the child.
The hepatitis B vaccine is also mandatory for medical students of all types and for employed medical personnel working in hospitals, laboratories or dental practices. The vaccine is also mandatory for all employees who work in psychiatric institutions, for embalmers at funeral homes, for workers at zoos or animal centers who may come into contact with anthropoids and for all employees whose work may require travel or stay for a period of time in an area where hepatitis B is prevalent (Southeast Asia or Africa). However, the 1999 law that makes this vaccine mandatory includes a clause that allows you to obtain an exemption in case of medical contraindications. Also in this case, although only the hepatitis B vaccine is required, the TWINRIX vaccine (hepatitis A and B) is usually administered and is offered directly by the company doctor.
Laboratory workers and military personnel are also required to undergo vaccines such as typhoid and others, but these are not mandatory for everyone and may also depend on the specific conditions of the signed contract. Students who spend part of their training in hospitals (nurses, psychology students, etc.) are also required to undergo hepatitis B vaccination.
The ONE (Office de la Naissance et de l'Enfance, Belgian national office for childbirth and childhood which governs French-speaking Belgium) requires vaccinations against polio, diphtheria and whooping cough (whooping cough) for entry into all registered French-speaking nurseries and childcare centres.
Flemish-speaking nurseries and nurseries run by Kind et Gezin only require the polio vaccine.
Public reporting system of adverse events following immunization
Homeschooling is legal in Belgium. Education is compulsory, but school attendance is not. Article 24 of the Belgian Constitution offers parents “free choice” regarding the education of their children. Since Belgium is divided into three linguistic communities, additional regulations on homeschooling come from the regional level. Below are the specific homeschooling requirements in the Flemish, French, and German communities.
- French community
Home teaching is authorized if it meets specific requirements to comply with those required for compulsory education (Decree of April 2008). Families wishing to homeschool should submit an annual notice of their intent to homeschool by October 1 (Article 8, Lois 09676 dated 20/08/1957).
Although the Federal Law of 29 June 1983 (Leerplichtwet) is often translated as the Law on Compulsory School Attendance, it would be more precisely called the Compulsory Education Law. While it obliges all parents (resident foreigners as well as Belgians) to have their children attend school for a period of twelve years, it is equally clearly stated that this obligation can also be satisfied through home teaching. Therefore, freedom of education goes beyond the right to establish schools to include the right to teach.
- German community
Parents have the right to teach their children at home within the scope of freedom of education (Hausunterricht). They must comply with the provisions of the law and the Ministry's inspectorate. End-of-year certificates can only be issued by the Prüfungsausschuss of the Gemeinschaft.
For more information visit the websiteHSLDA.
For more information visit the websiteEcdc.
Recognition and compensation for vaccine injuries
L'Agence Fédérale Belge du Médicament et des Produits de Santé (Belgian Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products) has responsibility for and a registration system for vaccine injuries but the Agency does not publish any data relating to traditional vaccines. Even when local associations requested more information, FAGG responded that it does not provide this type of data.
We are not aware of any legislation relating to compensation for vaccine injuries.
Local organizations pro-freedom of choice in the therapeutic field
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We want to thank you EFVV for providing us with the first information on the European situation.