COVID-19

Belgium boosts its vaccination

A third dose of the messenger RNA vaccine will be administered to volunteers over the age of 65 for this third anti-covid injection.

COVID-19

Max HELLEFF

Max HELLEFF

A third dose of the messenger RNA vaccine will be administered to volunteers over the age of 65 for this third anti-covid injection.

From our correspondent MAX HELLEFF (Brussels) – A fourth pandemic wave cannot be ruled out. Although the figures are favorable for now, Belgium is not immune to a new outbreak of covid fever this fall or early winter. This is the message conveyed by the virologist Steven Van Gucht, relying on pessimistic mathematical models.

People wear masks when attending the New York Philharmonic's first concert after its reopening at Alice Tully Hall in New York on September 17, 2021. - After 556 days of cancellations caused by the pandemic and unconventional concerts , the New York Philharmonic will open its new season on September 17, a "Homecoming" for musicians limited to live broadcasts and outdoor performances for over a year.  After enduring months of crisis, Phil, one of America's oldest musical institutions, will reopen its subscription season with a program featuring Piano Concerto No.  Beethoven's 4, Anna Clyne's. "Inside your arms," By Aaron Copland "Quiet city" and George Walker "Antiphonys." (Photo by KENA BETACUR / AFP)

Different flexibilities according to the region, banishment of the unvaccinated: the health crisis is breaking the country a little more.

The decision to give a third dose to those over 65 must be understood in this context of uncertain health, where nothing should be left to chance. This weekend, health ministers came together to give this further boost to vaccination. Everyone over 65 will receive a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine, it has been decided. In the Grand Duchy, the measure has been validated, but after the age of 75.

The new campaign will start in Belgium with the over 85s, then the younger age group will follow. The third dose will consist of the only messenger RNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna), regardless of the vaccine previously received. The operational aspects of the new injection have yet to be clarified. A combined vaccination against influenza and covid could be decided immediately.

According to the latest data from the Sciensano Public Health Institute, between 81 and 92% of people aged 85 and over, depending on the region, already have complete vaccination coverage. The proportion varies between 81 and 96% for people aged 75 to 84 years and between 80 and 96% for people aged 65 to 74 years.

However, the good results of the vaccination campaign in these age groups do not prevent the virus from continuing to circulate there. The press has widely reported the misfortune of these 32 older adults from Limburg who, because they traveled along the Belgian coast in the same bus, became infected. The vaccine, it was recalled, if it does not rule out contracting the virus, it reduces the risk of developing a serious form of the disease. Only one person from this group was admitted to the hospital.

This photograph taken on January 4, 2021 in Paris shows figures next to a vaccine vial that says  "Vaccine for COVID-19"., Image: 580850526, License: Rights managed, Restrictions :, Model release: no

For a growing number of Belgians, the system established by the federal government appears to be the most consistent way to combat the virus.

During the first wave, in the spring of 2020, one in two deaths from covid occurred in retirement homes transformed into real bunkers. Then any visit was prohibited.

Along with the decision to inject a third dose to the elderly, Belgium is counting on the imposition of a health pass to improve its vaccination rate, which is now stabilizing. The Covid Safe Ticket will be mandatory in Brussels on October 1 and in Wallonia in mid-October in the catering industry, sporting and cultural events, or even nightclubs.

This weekend, the Walloon Minister of Health, the socialist Christie Morreale, was delighted with the call for air created by this obligation, which will only take place in three weeks. “4,000 appointments made in 24 hours for the covid vaccination, five times more than the average of 800 registrations per day observed in recent weeks,” he said.

But according to Le Soir, this increase represents practically nothing with respect to the Walloon population and must be confirmed in the coming days. In any case, it remains well below the massive influx of future vaccines caused in France by the announcement of the health pass. In Brussels, moreover, “there is a dead calm” …

Given the advances in vaccination in Luxembourg, experts from the Department of Health believe that a change in health strategy is necessary in the face of the pandemic. The latter could lose its splendor in the coming months, in the absence of new variants.

To be complete, the protection of the population will also spend this winter facilitating vaccination against influenza. Starting October 1, pharmacists will be allowed to prescribe the flu vaccine to anyone who wants it. Last year, they were only able to broadcast it to people over the age of 50. 3.8 million doses will soon be shipped to Belgian pharmacies, preventing the country from experiencing unwanted shortages in these delicate times.

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The presentation of the “safe covid ticket” will be mandatory for those over 16 years of age from mid-October in the border region.

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The United States has authorized the injection of one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, but only for people over 65 and for people at “risk.” The original intention was a much larger booster shot.

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The Belgian capital is struggling to catch up as the Pfizer vaccine is available to children ages 12-15 across the country.

The death of a patient explains the partial withdrawal of this single-dose vaccine that supposedly would facilitate the advancement of the vaccination campaign. From now on, only those over 41 years of age will be entitled to it.

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The uncertainties surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine lead the kingdom to review its program.

A healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine against the new coronavirus at the Freising vaccination center in southern Germany on February 2, 2021 (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP).

Authorities are optimistic as the vaccination campaign officially begins in nursing homes.

A nurse fills a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNtech coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine on January 4, 2020 at the Bellevue gerontology center in Montpellier, southern France.  The French president on January 4, 2020, faced mounting pressure to accelerate France's Covid-19 vaccination campaign, which has only seen a few hundred people receive the vaccine.  (Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP)

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