Health Ministers call on high-risk groups to receive additional Covid-19 vaccination

Health Ministers call on high-risk groups to receive additional Covid-19 vaccination
Credit: Belga.

All 7 of Belgium's Health Ministers have jointly encouraged those with reduced immunity to receive their double booster shot to protect themselves against the country's growing Covid-19 levels.

Currently, there are over 1,000 Covid-19 patients are currently in hospital due to the emergence of the BA.5 variant.

New mutations appear most frequently among immunocompromised patients, according to a recent study.

As a result, an inter-ministerial statement was issued, calling on those most at risk, as well as those in their immediate vicinity, to receive their fourth vaccination jab.

Why a fourth jab?

The ministers' aim is to relieve the pressure on hospitals this summer, as health workers will look to take a well deserved rest.

This is why, since the beginning of the year, those with reduced immunity have received a letter reminding them to get their fourth jab, with 65% of them following through.

To this end, another reminder letter will be sent to them within the following week.

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Furthermore, the EMA recommended drug Evusheld has been made available to transplant and dialysis patients, as well as other immunocompromised patients, ensuring them an additional 6-month protection against the virus.

Other recommendations

The ministers recommended that anyone experiencing symptoms get tested as soon as possible. If their test were to come back positive, they have been asked to self-isolate for 7 days before wearing a mask once they get out of quarantine.

They also advised that those at risk wear an FFP2 mask when using public transport, or when they come into contact with a large group of people.

In addition, they also reiterated the importance of suffisant ventilation to combat the virus, with a recent study showing that air purifiers in classrooms greatly reduce risk of Covid-19 infections.

What next?

The Superior Health Council will meet next week to discuss the booster shot campaign scheduled for the end of summer.

This might be necessary route to explore, since research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal found that up to 20 million deaths were avoided thanks to the various vaccines.

The Inter-ministerial Health Council will then select who to invite for an additional vaccination jab.

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