At the beginning of June, Belgium’s Superior Health Council (CSS) said that it was “more important than ever” to ensure that at-risk groups were vaccinated against the flu this year.
The CSS’s advice aimed to prevent flu cases to aggravate the situation of hospitals if the flu season coincided with a new peak of coronavirus infections and hospitalisations.
“The CSS insists on the importance of vaccinating health personnel not only to indirectly protect patients but also to ensure staff are protected and can be available in the event of a new Covid-19 wave,” the council said.
Lieven Zwaenepoel from the Association of Pharmacists Belgium (APB) said that to ensure that all people belonging to at-risk groups can be vaccinated, Belgium would need more than 4 million flu shots.
According to the CSS’ definition, people belonging to the at-risk group are pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, people aged over 65, people living in residential centres.
The CSS also said that health care staff and those living with people belonging to the previous list of groups should be given the same priority as at-risk populations.
In the light of the flu vaccine shortage, Zwaenepoel said that people who are not part of at-risk groups would have to “show solidarity.”
“It is out of the question to vaccinate people, such as healthy workers, who do not belong to this priority group,” he said. “Everyone will have to show some solidarity.”