Belgium considers postponing second coronavirus vaccination dose

Belgium considers postponing second coronavirus vaccination dose
Credit: Belga

A revision of Belgium's vaccination strategy is being considered to postpone the administering of a second shot, a procedure that was first implemented by the UK.

The proposed plan, for which the evidence of success is growing, allows for as many people as possible to be given the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, is now also being considered by Belgium, according to De Standaard.

No decision has been made yet, but behind the scenes a revision of the Belgian vaccination strategy is being considered, a source closely involved in the rollout plan told De Standaard.

This change in tactic had been put on the table before in December, but has now been brought up again as positive results from other countries, including Israel and Scotland, have been reported.

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The exact health benefits of administering the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after six weeks, instead of the recommended three weeks, are currently being investigated.

One dose of this vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalisation or death for people over the age of 80 by 75%, according to new data released by the British health service Public Health England (PHE).

However, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has branded the British strategy, which postpones the second dose by up to 12 weeks, as “risky.”

Under the possible revision of the strategy in Belgium, an accelerated roll-out of the first dose in the second phase of the vaccination campaign, involving the low-risk general population, is also being discussed, De Standaard reports.

This means all available doses would be used to administer the first shots, meaning no second vaccine doses would have to be reserved to be given to those who already received one jab.

Altering the tactic in this way would also allow young adults to receive their first jab much sooner than previously expected.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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