The decision on how Belgium will proceed with the roll-out of third shots of the coronavirus vaccine has been postponed until Saturday.
The news comes from the Interministerial Conference on Public Health on Wednesday, which gathered health ministers from all levels of government to decide which target groups might need an additional booster dose.
However, the only decision on the matter reached on Wednesday was to postpone the decision until Saturday, Belga News Agency reports. It is not clear whether it will be decided to continue offering the third shot only for people with an increased risk for the time being or to expand it to the entire population.
Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has said he hopes to receive the opinion of the Higher Health Council (HSC) on Friday on the use of the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for healthcare workers, so that the inter-ministerial conference can take a decision on Saturday, he told a House committee on Wednesday.
For the time being, the so-called booster vaccine is only being offered to residents of residential care centres, people over 65 and people with reduced immunity. The HSC has also been asked to advise on a third injection for care providers and people with co-morbidity.
Calls For Scientific Evidence
Following calls from the Flemish Government to administer booster shots to almost the entire population, the head of Belgium’s Vaccination Taskforce has argued there is not sufficient scientific evidence for such a measure.
On Friday, Flemish health minister Wouter Beke announced that “the Flanders Government is asking for a third dose for all over-12s,” while calling on the Superior Health Council to provide clarity on this booster shot “so that the Interministerial Conference on Public Health can also take a quick decision on the matter.”
Belgium’s Consultative Committee, which met on Tuesday to decide on new measures to deal with the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the country, also addressed the question of the third dose.
“The Committee asks the Ministers of Health to organise its administration as soon as the place in the vaccination schedule for a nation-wide booster dose is scientifically proven,” a statement reads.