The first batch of new coronavirus vaccines obtained by the European Union is set to arrive in Belgium by next spring, A Belgian official involved in the negotiations said on Thursday.
“On the basis of all the information that I have, I dare say that, by March 2021, we will have a vaccine against Covid-19 in Belgium,” said Xavier De Cuyper, chief of Belgium’s AFMPS medicines agency, the Belga news agency reports.
“It’s a realistic due date,” he added, noting that this first batch would be of just over 1 million vaccines.
De Cuyper is at this stage the only Belgian officials to be deeply involved in the negotiations between the EU and vaccine makers.
In the latest developments on the negotiations between pharmaceutical firms and the EU, the Commission announced it had clinched a deal with multinational giant AstraZeneca for up to 400 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine going through late-stage clinical trials.
The deal with AstraZeneca is set to see Belgium receive 7.5 million doses of the company’s coronavirus vaccine, good to administer it to around 3.5 million Belgians.
De Cuyper said that a single vaccine producer would not be capable of delivering, at the same time, vaccines for all of Europe and said that distribution would be based on the populations of each member state.
“The first delivery for Europe will no doubt consist of 50 million doses, out of which Belgium will receive 1.2 million,” he said.
In the initial vaccination campaigns, De Cuyper said each country will therefore have to decide which sectors of the population to inoculate first.
“It will be a difficult decision,” he said. “There will be a lot of pressure coming from every sector.”