Booster vaccines already available for all Brussels residents

Booster vaccines already available for all Brussels residents
Credit: Belga

All residents of the Brussels-Capital Region from 18 years old can make an appointment for a third/booster dose against the coronavirus from this week.

The Brussels authorities only started sending invitations for a booster dose to all healthcare staff last week, but have now extended the invitation to all adults in the region.

"We have the capacity to already do that. So to everyone who is eligible: make your appointment," Fatima Boudjaoui, spokesperson for the Joint Community Commission (Cocom), told The Brussels Times.

"This way, we can be sure that all slots are filled and the available vaccines can be used," she said. "We know from experience that the responses to the invitations are difficult to estimate, but the agendas of the vaccination centres can start filling up properly now."

However, the mandatory waiting times between the last dose and the third shot should be taken into account before booking an appointment, stressed Boudjaoui.

For those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, that waiting period is two months. For AstraZeneca, it is four months after the second dose, and for Pfizer and Moderna, it is six months after the last dose.

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"It is medically not recommended to get the booster dose before the stipulated term," the Cocom said. "The vaccination posts will not be able to administer a booster if this term is not complete."

As the authorities are also still administering first and second doses, they strongly recommend making an appointment via BruVax or the call centre on 02/214 19 19.

"It is important to bring your ID card (or residence card) and your Covid Safe Ticket or vaccination card to your appointment, in order to double-check the waiting times between doses," Boudjaoui said.

She explained that, with the reopening of the centre in the Military Hospital last week, Brussels now has a total of five operating vaccination centres, on top of a large number of decentralised vaccination points.

"We now have about the same capacity as we did in May (when ten vaccination centres were open), but in a hybrid form of large centres and more local points," Boudjaoui said.

No priority groups

For the whole of Belgium, the Interministerial Health Conference (IMC) decided over the weekend that invitations for the general population to receive a coronavirus booster vaccine will be sent out in the following days.

The general population campaign for booster shots will not be based on priority groups but will instead be based on the previous vaccine administered and a person’s age, the IMC decided.

People who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson have also already received an invitation for a booster dose, and those over 65 years old and healthcare workers are also receiving booster invites now.

In total, that leaves roughly 4.5 million more adults who are eligible to receive a dose to strengthen vaccination immunity against the virus.

The IMC stressed that sufficient vaccines are in stock and that, as a result, most adults will have had the opportunity to receive a booster vaccine by March 2022.

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