Belgium reopens Qvax reserve list for booster doses

Belgium reopens Qvax reserve list for booster doses
Qvax. Credit: Belga

Belgium will relaunch the Qvax reserve list for coronavirus vaccines again from today (Thursday 2 December), allowing people to register for their booster dose earlier.

During the first vaccination campaign, Qvax was the central reserve list on which people could register to be vaccinated earlier with leftover doses in vaccination centres at the end of the day. That way, the vaccine doses in the already opened vials could still be used if someone did not show up for their shot.

“From Thursday, the system will be relaunched for the booster campaign, which has been extended to all adults in Belgium,” Gudrun Briat, spokesperson for the Vaccination Taskforce, confirmed to The Brussels Times.

Due to a technical error, the platform went online a bit later than planned on Thursday morning. The error has been resolved now, and the platform should be allowing registrations for booster shots like usual again.

Like the first time around, the system is available for everyone living in Belgium except for those living in the Brussels-Capital Region, which is again working with its own BruVax platform.

How does it work?

Those who want to register will have to enter their place of residence so that the system can find a vaccination centre in their area. Once they select the correct centre, they can enter the days and hours when they can be available to come to the centre in the upcoming week(s).

Once applicants have entered their contact details they will be notified by email or text message as soon as there are free slots at the vaccination centre. After receiving an early invite, they are asked to confirm that they can be at the vaccination centre within half an hour.

“The reserve list will open to users from Thursday 2 December and vaccination centres will be able to start using them from Tuesday 7 December after some tests,” Briat said.

Can anyone sign up?

Yes, all adults living in Flanders, Wallonia or the German-speaking community can register. Those who already registered to receive their first two vaccine doses more quickly will also have to sign up for a faster third dose as all personal data have been deleted in the meantime.

“One big difference with last time is that the mandatory waiting period between the second and the third dose now has to be taken into account. The system does that automatically,” explained Briat.

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.

“So if you only received your second dose from Pfizer in September, for example, the system will not pick you up until March,” Briat said. “You can immediately sign up for the list when it opens but you will not be invited before your waiting time is over.”

“Just like last time, the system will also work in order of decreasing age,” she added. “If a 45-year-old and a 60-year-old are eligible for a booster on the same day, the 60-year-old will be invited first.”

Additionally, if you already received an official invitation letter for a booster dose, there is no need to register. Given that you already have a vaccination code, the system will not invite you earlier.

Should you register as soon as the platform opens?

Registering for Qvax is no guarantee that your turn will come sooner but the latest figures from the Flemish Agency for Care and Health show that more than 13% of those invited for vaccination do not turn up.

This means that at the end of every day, a number of vaccines are leftover and could go to other people, meaning that there is a good chance it will be your turn sooner if you are registered on the reserve list.

However, to avoid system crashes or hours of queuing because too many people try to sign up at the same time (as happened when Qvax launched in spring) the Taskforce is asking people whose waiting time is not over yet not to sign up en masse on Thursday.

For those who only received their second Pfizer or Moderna dose in the summer holiday months, there is no use in rushing to sign up as these people must wait until early 2022 for their booster shot.

Update: This article was updated to include that Qvax had some technical issues, resulting in a delayed relaunch.

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