Belgium in Brief: Who Will Get Vaccinated?

Belgium in Brief: Who Will Get Vaccinated?
Credit: Belga

It took a bit longer than initially expected, but Belgium unveiled its coronavirus vaccination strategy this morning.

The country’s interministerial Public Health conference was expected to reach an agreement on the strategy yesterday, but the meeting ended before a conclusion was reached.

“It seems that 2021 will be a new start, after a year that we might want to forget, but cannot forget,” said Wouter Beke, president of the Interministerial Conference on Public Health, during a press conference.

“It is not unthinkable that we will be able to start the first vaccinations at the beginning of January. To a limited extent, because the number of vaccines available will not yet be so high,” he added.

Six population groups will be vaccinated as a matter of priority, starting with the most vulnerable ones living in residential care centres and ending with people working in an essential profession.

Vaccinations will be phased, depending on the number of vaccines available at the time. To find out more, look below.

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1. Belgium will start vaccinating population from 5 January

Belgium will start vaccinating people against Covid-19 on 5 January if the EU gives the green light for the vaccine, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Wednesday.

“The vaccination strategy will become clear in the next few days,” De Croo told VRT News. “It is important that we get it right. There is no time to lose, but on 5 January we will be ready, just like other countries.” Read More.

2. Belgium reveals coronavirus vaccination strategy

Belgium’s public health ministers announced the country’s coronavirus vaccination strategy, including the order of priority groups to receive the vaccine, during a press conference on Thursday.

“We have a view on not one, but several working vaccines, and there are more in the pipeline,” said Wouter Beke, president of the Interministerial Conference on Public Health. “The process is supervised entirely, because safety is essential.”

“It seems that 2021 will be a new start, after a year that we might want to forget, but cannot forget,” he said. “It is not unthinkable that we will be able to start the first vaccinations at the beginning of January. To a limited extent, because the number of vaccines available will not yet be so high.” Read More.

3. Guests ‘already had Covid-19,’ organiser of Brussels sex party says

David Manzheley, who organised the sex party in Brussels with 25 attendees where Hungarian MEP Jozsef Szajer was also present, does not see the problem as all guests had already had coronavirus.

Manzheley (29) regularly organises sex parties in his apartment, he told Het Laatste Nieuws, but he was not aware that one of his guests was an MEP, he added. “He is a friend of a friend. At my parties, I always invite a few friends, who in turn bring a few friends, and then we have fun together.”

While Manzheley said that he realises the gathering was illegal in view of the coronavirus restrictions in force in Belgium, he also said that he and his guests had been very careful. Read more.

4. Wheelchairs given full access to new Brussels station, but not the trains

A new train station in Brussels equipped to allow wheelchair users full access to the station still faces a substantial issue, as trains will not be accessible to wheelchair users without additional help.

Set to open 13 December, the new station near the Rad district in Anderlecht is thus not fully accessible to people with reduced mobility, according to Collective Accessibility Wallonia and Brussels (CAWAB).

Despite certain measures being taken, an absence of systems to help people with reduced mobility physically board the train gives cause for concern, explained Mathieu Angelo, CAWAB Director. Read More.

5. Coronavirus: Belgium’s daily hospital admissions drop below 200

Hospital admissions have dropped below 200 per days as all major coronavirus indicators in Belgium continue to decrease, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on Thursday.

Between 24 and 29 November, an average of 2,304.3 new people tested positive per day over the past week, which is a 28% decrease compared to the week before. Read more.

6. Third coronavirus wave would be ‘catastrophic’ for Brussels hospitals

Brussels hospitals are bracing for the Christmas period, saying that a third coronavirus wave would be “catastrophic” for their understaffed wards if residents don’t respect the limits on gatherings.

“Our employees cannot start everything all over again in January. They cannot keep it up anymore. They are working overtime so much, they have not taken their holidays, it must stop,” Drik Thielens, head of Brussels’ IRIS hospital network said.

Despite falling hospitalisation figures, hospitals in the capital remain under a lot of pressure, as many are understaffed and still recovering from the first wave of the pandemic. Read More.

7. Nature: The problem of dogs off the leash

The Flemish nature and woodland agency ANB has issued a warning to dog-owners: keep your pet on a leash or face a fine.

The new stance comes after a number of incidents involving dogs running free, including the deaths of four ewes at the weekend in West Flanders. A day before, in Limburg, two German shepherds attacked a Shetland pony, which did not survive. Read More.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times


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