None of Brussels’ intensive care patients had received a vaccine
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None of Brussels’ intensive care patients had received a vaccine

Credit: Belga / Dirk Waem

Brussels hospitals are gradually filling up with Covid-19 patients again, and one thing they all have in common is that none opted for a free vaccine against the coronavirus, according to the staff of Sint-Jan hospital in Brussels.

“In intensive care, no one has been vaccinated,” said Kenneth Coenye, a head doctor there.

“On Saturday we picked up a 35-year-old single mother who died from the virus. It was distressing and should not have happened.”

The Sint-Jan clinic currently houses three of the 51 Covid-19 patients who are in intensive care in Brussels, according to Bruzz.

These are a man in his forties, one in his sixties, and one in his eighties, all of whom have not been vaccinated.

“We know that the number of sudden deaths has risen sharply since the start of Covid-19, especially among relatively young people,” Coenye told Het Laatste Nieuws.

“On Saturday, we had to go and see a 35-year-old single mother who died from the virus. She had not been vaccinated and probably only showed symptoms for a few days. That is enormously distressing. It should never have happened.”

The woman’s children are now being cared for temporarily by the ex-husband.

“It is perfectly avoidable, and for that very reason so unfortunate,” said Coenye.

“Those who don’t get vaccinated will run into the virus sooner or later. One day we will end up with basic immunity, but I still advocate achieving that immunity through vaccination.”

Brussels has been struggling to match the vaccination rates of Flanders and Wallonia.

Barely half of the capital’s residents have been vaccinated, and efforts are being stepped up across the region to boost that number to 65 percent, which is still significantly lower than Flanders (87 percent) and Wallonia (77 percent).

The low vaccination rate doesn’t necessarily mean that Brussels is heading for a fourth wave, as many people have in the meantime also built up immunity after a coronavirus infection, Coenye thinks.

But the consequence is that hospitals are still struggling with a high workload.

Staff shortages contribute to that, with a quarter of the Brussels ICU capacity now closed.

That means that as of today, transfers to Flemish and Walloon hospitals will have to take place again.

According to virologist Steven Van Gucht, come autumn “the solidarity with the Brussels hospitals will certainly remain important.”

The Brussels Times

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