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Brussels stops giving AstraZeneca vaccine to new people

Credit: Belga

The Brussels-Capital Region will no longer offer AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to people getting their first dose, the Common Community Commission (Cocom) announced on Wednesday.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine will still be administered as a second dose to everyone who already received their first shot of the vaccine, in line with the vaccination schedule recommended by the Interministerial Health Conference.

In recent weeks, Cocom had already been scaling down the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, to make sure the stock was kept high enough to ensure second doses, in view of continuing delivery issues.

Additionally, the decision will also speed up Brussels’ vaccination campaign, as the time between the doses of the other vaccines is significantly shorter than for AstraZeneca, with four weeks (Moderna), five weeks (Pfizer) or no second shot at all (Johnson & Johnson).

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The other vaccines are still available, according to Cocom, which stressed that all adults Brussels residents can now also opt to indicate their willingness to get vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when registering via the Bruvax platform.

On Tuesday, Brussels announced that it is making the J&J vaccine available to all adults in the region, including those under 41 years old after they have given their “informed consent,” just like in Flanders.

“It is strongly recommended to make an appointment via Bruvax to avoid queues,” said Cocom in a press release. “These actions are put in place to encourage Brussels residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

In the meantime, Belgium’s Vaccination Taskforce announced that it is expecting another delivery of 700,000 AstraZeneca vaccines on 29 June, which will mainly go to second doses in Flanders.

Brussels’ decision to suspend first vaccinations with the vaccines is a “provisional” one, according to Cocom, meaning it is possible that the vaccine will be administered again in a few weeks time, if the situation changes.