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Brussels residents have no choice of vaccine

Credit: Belga

Contrary to previous reports in Belgian media, people living in the Brussels-Capital Region have no way of choosing which vaccine they will get via the region’s online reservation tool.

Brussels residents who receive a vaccination invite can pick their own time and centre for the shot, but they cannot pick which vaccine they receive.

“From the moment someone is invited for vaccination in Brussels, they are assigned a type of vaccine,” Inge Neven of the Brussels Health Inspectorate told The Brussels Times. “When they then go to make an appointment, they can only see the slots for that vaccine.”

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Reports that people in the Capital-Region could see which vaccines will be administered in certain centres at certain times are wrong, according to Neven. “We work with the Doclr system, the same one that is being used in Flanders and Wallonia, so it would be strange if the same system would operate differently here.”

From Monday 19 April, however, the Brussels-Capital Region will stop using the federal Doclr system, and start using its own Bruvax reservation system, as was announced earlier this week.

Since Wednesday, all people in Brussels over 56 years old, and all residents over 18 years old with an underlying condition are being invited to get vaccinated in the Region’s centres.

‘Vaccine shopping’

Over the past months, Belgium’s Vaccination Taskforce has repeatedly stressed that choosing which vaccine you get, also known as “vaccine shopping,” is not the intention.

“Vaccine shopping is and remains impossible, we have three vaccines that are medically and scientifically regarded as good vaccines,” Dirk Ramaekers of the Taskforce said in early March, referring to Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

In mid-March, the Taskforce repeated that standpoint as people attempted to rebook or cancel their appointments to get vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine amid growing concerns about blood clots, stressing that the type of vaccine someone gets is “fixed in advance.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times