Within a zone of 20 kilometres around Belgian and adjacent nuclear installations (10 kilometres for the IRE Fleurus) there are preventive iodine tablets available at all pharmacists. In every municipality within this zone, you can collect free iodine tablets as individuals or a community facility, even if the municipality is only partially within the 20 or 10 kilometre radius.
Do you live within this zone?
- First check if you still have iodine tablets at home. They are not expired (see below).
- Visit your pharmacist
- Take the identity cards of all family members with you
- Your pharmacist will give you one box of tablets per four persons
- Keep your box of tablets at home, like any other medicine, in a place that everyone knows.
Do you live outside this zone?
Even outside these zones all pharmacists in the country have boxes with stable iodine. Throughout Belgium we advise the most vulnerable groups to get free iodine tablets:
- children (<18 years)
- pregnant women
- breastfeeding women
- community facilities where (very young) children are present (e.g. day care centres, nurseries, kindergartens, primary schools and high schools).
Do you belong to one of these groups? Visit your pharmacist with the identity cards of all members of your family. Your pharmacist will then give you a box of tablets per 4 persons. Keep your box of tablets stored at home as you store other medicine, in a place that everyone knows.
Note that no one is excluded from taking this preventive measure. Grandparents can for example, keep iodine tablets for their visiting grandchildren.
In addition, there are centralized (in a pharmaceutical warehouse) and decentralized (at the Civil Protection units) strategic stocks present in Belgium. In the event of a nuclear accident, these stocks can be used quickly to bring iodine tablets to the intervention zone.
Do you still have iodine tablets at home?
If you store the iodine tablets properly (e.g. with other medication), their proper potency will be maintained for a long time. The packaging date of the iodine tablets shows the date of manufacture, not the expiration date.
Iodine tablets distributed in 2011 with the 2010 date of manufacture (lot numbers: 0L084A - 0L085A - 0L086A - 0L087A - 0L148A - 0L149A - 0L150A - 0L151A) can be used at least until the end of 2020.
Experience and regular analyses show that iodine tablets can be kept for up to 10 years if stored correctly. After this expiry date, the Scientific Institute of Public Health analyses the samples to determine whether they are still effective.
Do you live within a zone of 20 km around a nuclear installation (10 km for IRE Fleurus) and do you already have iodine tablets with one of these aforementioned lot numbers? Then you don’t have to go to the pharmacy to exchange or return your box. Your tablets remain usable.