Care homes, healthcare, hospitals: Belgium's vaccination order explained

Care homes, healthcare, hospitals: Belgium's vaccination order explained
Credit: Belga

As expected, not all of Belgium will be able to receive the coronavirus vaccine at the same time. Limitations in production, distribution and quantity mean Belgium has been forced to decide on an order of who gets it first.

So, here it is:

1. All residents and staff in residential care centres.

Care centres for the elderly will come first, followed by other collective care institutions. Besides the residents and the staff, volunteers will also be vaccinated.

2. Healthcare staff in hospitals, and healthcare staff working in the first line.

This category includes all people at high risk of infection due to close contact with Covid-19 patients as part of their jobs, including trainees.

3. Other staff members working in hospitals and staff members of health services.

This includes, but is not limited to centres for vaccination and cancer screening, Child & Family. All people who have a lower risk of infection as part of their professional activity belong in this category.

4. People aged 65 years and over.

This will happen indiscriminately or in descending age categories, depending on the availability of the vaccine at the time.

5. People between 45 and 65 years old with specific underlying conditions.

These conditions are obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic lung, kidney and liver diseases, etc. The list has not yet been finalised.

6. People working in an essential profession.

The criteria will be defined further, but it includes people in essential social and/or economic functions.

7. The rest of the adult population.

When there is a large stock of various vaccines, the rest of the adult population will be vaccinated, as will other low-risk patients. At that stage, vaccinations could also take place in companies and schools, for example.

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How long it will take before the entire Belgian population is vaccinated against the coronavirus is not yet clear, according to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

The government is mainly dependent on different producers, he told VRT News. "I am afraid we will be working on it for a whole year, but I do not dare put an exact date on it," Vandenbroucke said.

For a more in-depth recap of what was announced at today's press conference, click here.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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