It is still too early to see an effect of Belgium's vaccination campaign on the number of new Covid-19 hospitalisations, health officials stated during a press conference on Tuesday.
Even though hospital admissions have been going down for some time and the situation in residential care centres is improving, "it is difficult to say whether that has anything to do with the vaccination campaign" said interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht. "We see no effect yet."
"The protection of the vaccine is at its maximum from one week after the second dose," said Van Gucht, adding that protection in residential care centres should be at it highest by the end of February or the beginning of March.
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"We suspect that this second dose will be very important, especially in this population (care centre residents), to strengthen that immunity," he added.
However, the experts hope to start seeing an effect of the first dose - which almost all residential care centres have received by now - in the coming weeks. "And we hope to see a further decrease in hospital admissions and deaths."
Results from clinical studies by Pfizer and Moderna showed that partial protection can be expected from 12 days after the first dose, according to Van Gucht.
"The question is, of course, whether we will also see this in residents of residential care homes, who are often in very fragile health and have a very weakened immune system," he said.
The Brussels Times