Brussels to start vaccinating children over five on Wednesday

Brussels to start vaccinating children over five on Wednesday
Credit: CDC

From 22 December, children aged 5 to 11 years will be able to receive the Pfizer vaccine in Brussels.

The launch of the large-scale campaign is planned for January 2022 when the vaccination rollout is expected to start in Belgium's other regions as well. A pilot phase held at the Pacheco vaccination centre near Botanique begins tomorrow, Wednesday 22 December.

This will run until 9 January 2022, the day before the full vaccination campaign for children begins in the region. Appointments can be made via the call-Center ( call 02/214.19.19) or online via the Bru-Vax registration platform, which has been updated for child vaccinations.

A medical team will be at the Pacheco vaccination centre to answer any questions regarding the vaccination of children, according to the region's Joint Community Commission (Cocom).

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At the end of November 2021, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved a lower dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine (10 µg compared with 30 µg) for children aged 5 to 11 years. On Monday, the Inter-ministerial Conference on Public Health (IMC) gave the green light to vaccinate this age group.

Calls for the vaccination of young children against Covid-19 grew as infections spread rapidly through primary schools resulting in various measures being imposed in schools and extracurricular activities being restricted.

Children with underlying conditions prioritised

As Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke stated on Monday, priority will go to children with certain diseases to protect them against the severe forms of the disease caused by Covid-19. "That is not a large group and we will start sending invites right now," he said.

Both Flanders and Wallonia are starting by identifying these children and sending invitations. "Children with underlying disorders will be identified by the (paediatric) doctors. This can be done quite quickly. The regular invitations can be sent out as of today," Flemish health minister Wouter Beke's spokesperson told The Brussels Times.

"This means that the first shots can be administered at the end of this year or beginning of next year, depending on the availability of the location."

Walloon health minister Christie Morreale stated on Twitter that invitations will be sent at the end of December for children with underlying health conditions.

The children's vaccination campaign will run simultaneously with the booster vaccination campaign for adults, which the IMC said would not be prioritised ahead of getting younger people vaccinated.

Like for adults, vaccination is not compulsory for children and the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) system will not be implemented for this age group, even when all children have had the opportunity to get vaccinated.

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