Born in Verviers (“the floods were terrible”), the Brussels Minister for Health and the Environment and the Climate, in particular, is at the heart of the management of the Covid crisis in the Capital. Alain Maron, who broke the Samusocial scandal in 2017, has since the start of the school year to face, with Rudy Vervoort, criticism related to the management of vaccination. “We must increase the vaccination rate, especially in certain neighborhoods. We need to continue to do testing and tracing. ”
However, some say that outreach work fails in Brussels?
“It is not fair to say that the Brussels authorities were not aware from the start that action was needed on the ground. Our field device has been in operation since last winter. When we launched Bruvax, we wanted an accessible and multilingual platform, also accessible to pharmacists. We launched the neighborhood action relay system almost a year ago with field agents who also raise awareness about vaccination with associations. “
Some neighborhoods remain impervious to all messages?
“There is a social and health divide. She was present before the covid. We are working on this with local social-health contracts that we launched before the covid. We have approved new medical homes in priority neighborhoods. This will offer long term solutions after the covid. The crisis is also an opportunity for us to pursue a structural improvement in health in Brussels with the first line. “
And yet, between July and September, the vaccination stuck?
“It doesn’t get stuck. During the summer part of the population is not in Brussels. It plays. 3% of the Brussels population has been vaccinated outside, in European or extra-European countries. On the other hand, it is true, it takes time: a day of successful decentralization (mosque, business, communal house …), there are 150 people per day in one place. A drop in the bucket, but very important in neighborhoods where vaccination rates are low. A vaccination center means between 1,500 to 3,000 vaccinations per day. We grapple with determination. “
Wouldn’t you rather be in favor of compulsory vaccination?
“The inter-ministerial health conference, which brings together the ministers of health, decided this summer to require the compulsory vaccination of caregivers, but after consultation with the social partners. This work is in progress at the federal level under the leadership of Frank Vandenbroucke and I obviously hope that it will be completed quickly. ”
Do you have the first provisional results of the study on vaccine resistance in Brussels?
“We wonder about this situation in Brussels even if these obstacles also exist in large Walloon cities and in Antwerp. We have launched a qualitative study on the one hand, and a quantitative study on the other. They will be useful for us after the covid too. “
What emerges from it?
“The investigation, still ongoing, shows that mistrust of the vaccine set in before the vaccine was available. She indicates that people expect more convergence of point of view between decision-makers and experts, sometimes this was lacking at the level of some experts. It also points to a counter-productivity if the communication lacks nuance: we must admit the complexity of the problem. The doubts about vaccines sometimes come from elements that are not related to the vaccine such as rejection of authority, anti-conformism …. I also feel it sometimes: I am told “more people will tell me that” I have to get vaccinated the less I’m going to want to do it … “…”
To what do you attribute the delay of the Covid Safe Ticket?
“The Government’s objective has always been for the CST to be implemented gradually from October, with a period of implementation preceding controls and sanctions from mid-October, from the adoption and the publication of legal texts. The legislative process is what it is and it takes time. That said, the nightlife can already apply the CST in Brussels since the beginning of October. The other sectors follow for mid-October. “
Do you believe that the obligation of the Covid Safe Ticket will allow a (clear) increase in vaccination membership?
“The CST is first and foremost a health risk management tool, the objective of which is to protect the community, human health and life. It must also make it possible to regain a life as normal as possible and to ensure that certain economic sectors can remain open or reopen, while at the epidemiological level the situation remains tense. Of course, we are also happy if this has a positive impact on vaccination, we are not going to hide it. Wallonia is working in the same vein. ”
For a year and a half, the life of a Minister of Health has experienced a boom in zoom meetings … and a little more face-to-face today. What remains of family life? “The balances are difficult to find especially since the covid. On Sundays, I try to preserve family moments. Assuming responsibilities spills over into private life spaces. It’s a reality. “.
He intends to remain attentive to his companion and his children: “They also need a daddy”. At the interview, he arrived by bicycle: “My only sport is my bicycle trips. The vast majority of my trips are by bicycle. I take a little more public transport on weekends with my family. I do not have a car. We have shared cars in the office when I really need them. “. Finally, when the weather allows it, he likes to capture it: “My passion is photography. I’m obviously running out of time to be able to fully immerse myself in it for the moment. “
For him, “improving living conditions also improves the health of Brussels residents. We want to triple the renovation rate in Brussels: we have around the table, companies, public authorities, the world of training, representatives of owner-tenants, research, the world of finance …. We want to mobilize private savings to help owners or tenants who want to renovate their homes. We want to find solutions for everyone. “
A real shutter for the roofs?
“For roofs, the first issue will be insulation. Afterwards, the facades exposed to the south must be better used by solar energy. Green roofs are also a solution to green the city, reduce temperatures, insulate the building and better manage rainwater so that it arrives more slowly in the sewers. Our thinking is global with the establishment of climate governance. Brussels adopted a climate ordinance last spring. It is a transversal project which concerns all administrations and the whole government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “