The Belgian authorities are looking into the possibility of also offering the booster vaccination against the coronavirus to teenagers, said Flemish Health Minister Wouter Beke.
As of Monday 17 January, 63% of the adult population in Belgium already received a booster dose, according to the latest figures by the Sciensano national health institute.
“If we receive a positive recommendation from the Superior Health Council, we can quickly start offering young people between the ages of 12 and 17 a booster shot,” Beke said on VRT television programme ‘De Zevende Dag’ on Sunday and repeated on Twitter.
“Our vaccination centres are running at full speed and this decision can be implemented quickly,” he said, adding that he expects the advice this week.
Als we een positief advies krijgen van de Hoge Gezondheidsraad, kunnen we jongeren tussen 12 en 17 jaar snel een boosterprik aanbieden. Onze vaccinatiecentra draaien op volle snelheid en deze beslissing kan snel uitgevoerd worden. #7dag @De7deDag
— Wouter Beke (@wbeke) January 16, 2022
In the second week of January, a record number of booster doses was administered in Flanders, Dirk Ramaekers of the Vaccination Taskforce told De Standaard. As a result, 72% of the adult population in Flanders already received its third vaccine, compared to just 56% in Wallonia and 36% in the Brussels-Capital Region.
While some teenagers already received a third dose, it only concerns those with a weakened immune system (due to cancer, an autoimmune disease or another condition), not the general teenaged population, Ramaekers explained.
“For this target group, we see this shot as a necessary basic vaccination for this target group,” he said. “As their immunity is weakened, and the vaccine therefore works less well for them, they need three doses to be properly protected. If we later offer them a fourth dose, we will consider that their booster shot.”