Flanders starts vaccinating people with disabilities from today
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Flanders starts vaccinating people with disabilities from today

Credit: Belga

The first residents and staff members of a facility for people with a disability are being vaccinated against the coronavirus today.

The first vaccination took place in non-profit organisation De Kerselaar in Overijse, in the Flemish Brabant province, in the presence of the Flemish Minister for Public Health Wouter Beke.

“I am pleased that we can start vaccinating in these facilities today. After all, the sector has also had – and still has – to deal with outbreaks,” Beke told local media.

“Thanks to the vaccinations of the residents and staff, in time we will be able to evolve towards an adapted visiting regime, so that our residents, their families and our staff can finally have more contact,” he added.

68 residents and 68 staff members were vaccinated today, the first of a total of about 41,000 people in the sector who will be vaccinated over the coming weeks.

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“This is a sector that has certainly not been spared, nor will it be spared,” Karina De Beule of the Flemish Agency for People with Disabilities said on Flemish radio. “Every week we still regret deaths or we see that the outbreaks are not over. The sector is breathing a sigh of relief.”

Specifically, it concerns over 14,900 adults with a disability who live in a care facility day and night. People who usually live in a care facility, but have been staying at home due to the coronavirus, will also be vaccinated.

In the coming weeks and months, 209 facilities and ten parent initiatives in Flanders will be covered, with six hub hospitals planning to deliver the vaccines, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

This week, residents and staff at 25 facilities will be vaccinated: nine in West Flanders, two in Limburg, six in East Flanders, four in Antwerp and four in Flemish Brabant.

In the same phase, some 25,900 staff members – from adult and juvenile facilities, and from day centres if they have contact with people residing there – will also be vaccinated.

The Flemish Agency for People with a Disability, together with the Care and Health Agency and the other collective sectors, is now preparing everything so that in the coming weeks all the vaccines will be in the right place at the right time, an overview of which will be published on laatjevaccineren.be.

“Of course, this planning is subject to the vaccines being delivered promptly,” the Agencies said. “And if there is an outbreak in a facility, the vaccination may not take place, but will be rescheduled at a later date.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times