Belgium will start vaccinating people against Covid-19 on 5 January if the EU gives the green light for the vaccine, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Wednesday.
"The vaccination strategy will become clear in the next few days," De Croo told VRT News. "It is important that we get it right. There is no time to lose, but on 5 January we will be ready, just like other countries."
"The vaccines have yet to be approved at the European level," he said. "But as soon as the vaccines are ready, we as a country will be ready to vaccinate as many Belgians as possible, as soon as possible."
However, vaccinating 11 million Belgians will take some time. "We will first start with certain groups, and then finish a certain schedule."
No agreement on vaccination strategy yet
Belgium’s interministerial Public Health conference has yet to reach an agreement on a coronavirus vaccination strategy.
The vaccination strategy must be decided on by not only the federal government, which is in charge of orders and validation, but also the federated entities, who are responsible for prevention and field campaigns.
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Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said he would submit his federal plan to the kern, which is made up of the Prime Minister and Vice Prime Ministers, on Wednesday evening.
In fact, the ministers never reached the topic of the vaccination strategy, according to Belga News Agency. The meeting ended at 10:30 AM as Vandenbroucke had to attend a European summit on the handling of the pandemic, Het Nieuwsblad reports. The ministers will meet again on Thursday morning.
Additionally, on Wednesday morning, the United Kingdom approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and will start administering the first doses next week.
Maïthé Chini & Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times