If there is a third wave of coronavirus infections, “that will have consequences for the Covid-19 vaccination strategy,” vaccinologist Pierre Van Damme warned on Saturday in an online briefing on the issue.
According to the Vaccination Task Force member, a significant number of health workers will need to be mobilised to do large-scale vaccination.
“At best, we’ll be able to maintain the current phase, at best we’ll be able to develop the vaccination strategy,” Van Damme said. “This is something that could motivate the population to follow the rules.”
Researchers are currently working on a vaccination barometer that should give the population a more complete picture of the Covid-19 epidemic. “It will be great to see how the vaccination barometer will have an effect on the epidemic barometer,” Van Damme said.
With time, vaccine coverage should also influence a possible easing of the health measures taken to curb the spread of the virus. However, the vaccinologist noted, “we are very cautious in that regard. We do not want to give the impression that because you have been vaccinated you can do anything.”
There has been some good news about vaccines in recent days. The European Commission has ordered 300 million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) hopes to make a decision on authorising the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of January.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could also arrive earlier than expected,” Xavier De Cuyper of the Federal Medicines Agency, AFPMS, said at the briefing. “Late February is a realistic date.”
There was yet another bit of good news coming out of the briefing: an initial study shows that vaccination also neutralises the highly contagious British strain of COVID-19, Van Damme announced. “This result has not yet been confirmed by other studies, but it is nevertheless very encouraging,” he said.