Covid Safe Ticket boosts demand for first dose in Flanders

Covid Safe Ticket boosts demand for first dose in Flanders
Credit: Belga

Since the announcement was made that the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) would be expanded in Flanders from 1 November, more people are registering for a first dose in vaccination centres.

Since the Consultative Committee made the announcement that a CST would be required to enter Flemish bars, restaurants and gyms, some 6,000 people in Flanders received their first shot.

"In our practice as well as in the vaccination centre, requests are increasing," GP Dirk Devroey, who coordinates the vaccination centre east of Brussels, told De Standaard.

"Most of them do so because they think all those tests are getting too expensive if they want to have a social life," he added. "But there are also those who, in recent months, have realised that the vaccine is safe and that it works: without it, the burden on hospitals would be three times greater."

The vaccination centre in Antwerp also received hundreds of calls a day over the past week, said doctor and coordinator Jan Stroobants.

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"Young people who cannot go to the gym, people who cannot go to restaurants anymore, people who work in the hospitality industry without being vaccinated and who do not feel good now they have to ask their customers for a CST, among others," he said.

Additionally, the centre also gets signals from companies who organise a staff party and employees who want to participate, says Stroobants.

Some vaccination centres, like the one in Leuven, have extended their opening hours for the same reasons. "The demand is increasing not only among young people but also among 50- to 70-year-olds," coordinator Bart Tirez told Het Nieuwsblad.

"Since we moved the vaccination centre to the centre of the city, we have noticed that people come in without an appointment," he added. "That is why we are going to keep a line open for people who drop by spontaneously, to keep the threshold extra low."

Those who still want their first shot can call their local vaccination centre to make an appointment. Some centres also vaccinate with an appointment. More information should be available on the website of your municipality.

As of Thursday 4 November, 93% of adults in Flanders (81% of the entire population in the region) have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest figures by the Sciensano national health institution.

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