Wallonia begins final phase to vaccinate general public on Monday
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Wallonia begins final phase to vaccinate general public on Monday

Credit: Belga

Wallonia is fully moving to the second phase of its drive to vaccinate the general population on Monday, regional Health Minister Christie Morreale announced on Sunday.

So far, close to 85% of people aged 65 and over, and just over 60% of people with underlying medical conditions have already received the first dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus in the Region.

According to the authorities, invitations for the vaccine were sent to all people in these two categories, who were given priority because of their vulnerability to Covid-19. The only ones who may not have received invitations are people who have just been added by their doctors, the authorities said.

Most people are currently booking appointments at vaccination centres while those unable to do so are contacting their doctors so as to receive the vaccine at home.

Under Phase 2, which starts on Monday, invitations will also be sent by age group, in descending order, to people aged 64 and younger. In some provinces, this phase has already begun, where people under the age of 45 are already receiving their invitations.

“Thanks to the significant increase in vaccine deliveries expected during the month of May, this last big phase of the vaccination campaign can move ahead at a good pace,” Morreale said.

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“For the week of 17 May, as long as all the deliveries are confirmed, Wallonia will distribute close to 200,000 doses of vaccines in vaccination centres and units deployed throughout its territory,” she said.

“Close to 210,000 persons were vaccinated there this week,” Morreale added. “In total, 45.2% of the Walloon population aged 18 years and over have now had at least one dose of the vaccine, and 14.4% have been fully vaccinated.”

From the week of 17 May, Wallonia will also begin the pilot phase of vaccinations for very vulnerable groups in eight structures that help homeless people, undocumented persons and those with mental health challenges or addictions. The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be used for this drive.

“Where the speed of the campaign is concerned, Wallonia is doing very well, even a little better than Flanders,” Federal Coronavirus Commissioner Pedro Facon said on Sunday in response to a question on the weekly RTL-TVI programme “C’est pas tous les jours dimanche.”

He also noted that the vaccination rate for senior citizens and people with underlying health conditions is lower in Wallonia, but said he was counting on the commitment of health professionals, particularly general practitioners, to increase the rates.

Additionally, “when many more people will have been vaccinated, the remaining ones will doubtless also want to do so,” Facon added.

He did not see a need for a faster deconfinement in Flanders than in Wallonia. “We’re a small country,” he argued. “The inhabitants of Flanders and Wallonia work in Brussels, so we cannot have very big variations between the regions.”

Asked about the absence of vaccine choice, he recalled that, in future, they will focus on the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna jabs – even though all the vaccines are working well – because the quantities of AstraZeneca vaccines delivered are not satisfactory.

The Brussels Times