Belgium will not use AstraZeneca vaccine for over 55s, for now
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Belgium will not use AstraZeneca vaccine for over 55s, for now

Credit: Belga

Belgium will not use the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 55 years old for now, according to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) had previously approved the vaccine without an age restriction, but several countries decided not to administer it to people over 55 (yet), due to a lack of data on its efficacy in that age group.

On Tuesday evening, Belgium’s federal government has decided to follow the advice by the Superior Health Council not to use the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 55 years old yet.

“The High Health Council says very clearly that AstraZeneca is a very good vaccine for people between 18 and 55,” Vandenbroucke told VRT NWS.

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“But they also said that they do not have enough data today to say with certainty whether it is also as good for older people,” he added. “If you are not sure for older people, then, of course, the advice is to start using for the people under 55.”

It concerns a provisional recommendation, as the company’s vaccines will arrive next week, according to Vandenbroucke. “However, we might have more info in a few weeks,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sweden also decided against using the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 55 years old, while the country’s health agency awaits more data on how well the vaccine works in the elderly.

On Wednesday morning, Belgium’s different health ministers will meet, before a larger meeting with the vaccination taskforce on Wednesday evening, where the vaccination strategy will be reviewed.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Correction: A previous version of this story said the vaccine would not be used over 65s 

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