Belgium's health minister not in favour of a general booster shot

Belgium's health minister not in favour of a general booster shot

The latest figures on new coronavirus cases are worrying, but rather than imposing new safety measures, what is needed is full compliance with existing ones, Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) stressed on Sunday.

“The governments of Wallonia and Brussels did well to maintain existing measures such as making facemasks compulsory and extending the use of the Covid Safe Ticket,” the Minister said on the RTL-TVI’s Sunday programme ‘C’est pas tous les jours Dimanche.’

His comments come one day after the Sciensano public health institute published figures showing increases in COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations in Belgium.

Daily infections averaged 2,438 between 6 and 12 October – a 28% increase on the previous one-week period.

Between 9 and 15 October, an average of 60.4 daily hospital admissions were recorded – 5% more than in the previous reference period. A total of 824 infected persons were hospitalised during the seven days – a 14% increase – including 190 (-7%) who were treated in intensive care.

Deaths went up by 28% to almost 11 persons (10.6) per day, during the seven-day period ending on 12 October, bringing the cumulative total of fatalities since the start of the pandemic to 25,747.

Minister Vandenbroucke described the situation as fragile, noting a correlation between lack of vaccination and infection. In this regard, he deplored the fact that the Flemish Government had not yet decided on extending the application of the Covid Safe Ticket to areas just outside Brussels, particularly Vilvoorde.

Some 45,800 COVID-19 tests are administered daily in Belgium. The positivity rate is 5.6%, while the reproduction rate of the virus is 1.06, according to Belga News Agency.

Mr. Vandenbroucke said he was currently not in favour of a general booster shot for people who have already had two doses of a vaccine against Covid-19. He also said he was waiting for the responses to a series of specific questions on booster shots for certain categories of persons such as health workers.

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