Brussels urges at-risk residents to get flu vaccine

Brussels urges at-risk residents to get flu vaccine
Credit: CDC / Unsplash

As flu season arrives, the Brussels authorities are urging residents – especially those at an increased risk of getting severely ill – not to hesitate in getting their influenza vaccine.

The number of flu infections is expected to rise sharply in the coming weeks and Covid-19 is still present as well. In fact, the number of Covid-19 infections and hospital admissions has even increased in recent days across Belgium, including in the Brussels-Capital Region.

"These two elements combined are expected to increase pressure on hospitals in the coming weeks and months," the authorities said in a press release. "In Brussels, however, the number of people getting their flu vaccinations has fallen in the last two years."

Although this year's figures have improved since made it clear to pharmacists that they play a vital role in raising patient awareness, they are still too low. As of 21 November, 91,577 flu vaccines were delivered to pharmacies in Brussels (compared with 135,933 for the full year 2020 and 128,229 for the full year 2021).

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Therefore, Brussels' Joint Community Commission (Cocom) and are launching a campaign to remind the Brussels population that there is still time to get vaccinated against the flu, emphasising how quick and simple it is.

For two years now, pharmacists have been allowed to deliver the flu vaccine directly to anyone – without a prescription. "It really is child's play: you pick up your vaccine from your pharmacist and visit your GP to have it administered."

Those who are part of a high-risk group get a large part of the vaccine reimbursed and only have to pay the co-payment, which is about €4 (and just €2 for people with the increased allowance).

Both vaccines at the same time

Those who also need a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine can even get both vaccines at the same time. To do this, bring your flu vaccine to one of the two Brussels vaccination centres (Pacheco or Molenbeek). There, you will get the Covid-19 vaccine in one arm and the flu vaccine in the other, as approved by the Superior Health Council.

"Vaccination against influenza is highly recommended for high-risk groups until January. By vaccinating yourself against influenza and Covid-19, you protect yourself and the vulnerable people around you, and also help reduce the pressure on our healthcare system during the coming weeks when the different viruses come into contact."

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