Vaccination of the population is a key measure in the fight against infectious diseases. Some transmissible diseases have so serious consequences at short and/or at longer term that it is wise to prevent them. There are indeed infectious diseases that harm health in a lasting way and that can even turn out to be fatal. Vaccination against a pathogenic germ allows the immune system of an organism to oppose a resistance to the bacteria or virus. In that way, the body is better armed to fight against the pathogenic germ in case of contagion.
The administration of a vaccine is then based on the principle following which it is better to prevent the disease than to have to treat it when people have already caught it. It is the reason why many vaccines are recommended.
There are already vaccines against several infectious diseases (for example: measles, mumps, German measles, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, hepatitis A and B, pneumococcus, meningitis, flu, etc.). New vaccines are currently being studied or are in a development phase.
On the ground, vaccines are administered by many health professionals (doctors, paediatricians, school doctors, etc.) and by various organizations (the “Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance (ONE)”, “Kind & Gezin”, external services for prevention and protection at work, supervision centres for pupils, etc.).
The Special law of the 8th August 1980 specifies that in matter of health policy, the Belgian Communities are, amongst others, competent for activities and services in the domain of preventive healthcare, at the exception of national measures relating to prophylaxis. In practice, only one vaccine is legally mandatory, it is the vaccine against poliomyelitis. The vaccine against smallpox was also formerly mandatory but thanks to worldwide systematic vaccination, the disease was eradicated in the years 1970. Vaccination could then be stopped.
If you wish more information on vaccination and on vaccines, do not hesitate to talk about it with your doctor.
Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Place Victor Horta, 40 box 10
Contact Center: +32 (0)2 524.97.97
Published on 28/09/2012 – Page last updated on 28/09/2012