Flemish vaccination centre will destroy 4,000 leftover Moderna vaccines

Flemish vaccination centre will destroy 4,000 leftover Moderna vaccines
Credit: Belga

A vaccination centre in the Limburg province will have to throw away 4,000 Moderna Covid-19 vaccines because not enough people showed up for their booster before the doses will expire on 14 February.

As Flanders’ booster campaign is coming to an end, several vaccination centres in Limburg had a surplus of Moderna vaccines. In most cases, the Agency for Care and Health could redistribute them to other vaccination centres, but this was not possible this time.

“The number of doses we had anticipated is higher than the number of shots that were actually administered,” Noel Vandeboel of the Maasland vaccination said on local radio on Thursday morning.

“Nobody could have guessed that there would be a delay in the booster doses. We are still expecting a few hundred adults, but even then, we will have about 4,000 doses left over,” he said, stressing that Flanders has done its best to ensure that no vaccines were lost.

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Occasionally, it happens that a centre orders too many vaccines but the authorities usually manage to redistribute them among other centres, according to Joris Moonens of the Flemish Agency for Health and Care.

“Once the vial is opened, the vaccine has to be administered within 30 days. So it can be a bit risky to order too many vaccines in advance,” he told The Brussels Times. Especially towards the end of the campaign, when most eligible people have already received their third dose, it becomes increasingly difficult to find people who have not yet had a booster.

Moonens denied that the delay in the campaign has anything to do with Belgium’s postponed decision about offering a booster dose to teenagers, as that age group would be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, not the Moderna ones in question.

“It likely has to do with the fact that many people have had to postpone their booster shot because they are in isolation due to an infection or in quarantine after a high-risk contact ,” he said.

The authorities recommend a waiting time of 14 days after a positive Covid-19 test or after the last symptoms before getting a booster dose. “Those people still get a shot, but it could be that the doses that were initially meant for them have expired by the time it is their turn again.”

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