Just under 500 vaccinations against the monkeypox virus were administered in Lille, just across the French border, last weekend – most of which went to Belgians crossing the border to get the shot.
The French city made preventive vaccinations against monkeypox available – both with and without an appointment – at the Lille Information, Screening and Diagnosis Center (CeGIDD) on Saturday, as the city found that time slots in other centres were insufficient, and waiting times were far too long.
"About 90% of the nearly 500 people vaccinated in our centre on Saturday came from Belgium," the Lille city council told Belga News Agency on Monday.
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In Belgium, only around 3,000 vaccines against the virus are in storage and new deliveries are not expected until the autumn. As a result of the limited supply, the country is only administering monkeypox vaccinations to high-risk contacts and people with specific profiles.
Yet, as initial data shows that the virus is currently being predominantly spread between men who have sex with men, many people in the LGBTQ+ community are becoming increasingly concerned and are urgently seeking protection.
According to the latest figures by the Scienano National Health Institute, 482 cases were recorded as of 3 August, 172 of them in Brussels.