‘Fewer antibodies’: Brussels pushes residents to get flu shot this winter

‘Fewer antibodies’: Brussels pushes residents to get flu shot this winter
Credit: Belga

The Brussels authorities are pushing the Capital Region’s residents to get vaccinated against to flu this winter by drawing attention to the fact that people can get the shot at the pharmacist without a doctor’s prescription.

The flu vaccine can be administered simultaneously with a Covid-19 vaccine in one of the five Brussels vaccination centres, the health authorities underlined in a press release on Wednesday.

“As restrictions to combat Covid-19 were introduced last year, we have had less contact with the flu virus and have therefore produced fewer antibodies,” the release states.

“This means that more people could contract the flu this winter, the most common symptoms of which (cough, fever, sneezing, runny nose/blocked nose, sore throat) are the same as those of Covid-19.”

Those wanting a flu shot can go to their pharmacist to buy one, without a medical prescription.

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Additionally, the Superior Health Council defined a number of risk groups – over-50s, patients of all ages with a chronic illness, those with a BMI higher than 35, people working in the healthcare sector and pregnant women – who will benefit from a large reimbursement when purchasing the shot.

To be vaccinated against both viruses at the same time, Brussels residents have to bring their flu vaccine to the vaccination centre: the Covid-19 vaccine will be administered in the right arm and the flu shot in the left one.

There is no need to keep a minimum interval between vaccination against Covid-19 and the flu vaccine, according to health experts. “These two vaccines can safely be administered simultaneously.”

As of Monday 6 December, nearly 120,000 flu vaccines have already been delivered to Brussels pharmacies, and no shortage of flu vaccines is expected, the General Pharmaceutical Association (APB) stressed.

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