Belgium sees first signs that vaccines are working, says Van Gucht
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Belgium sees first signs that vaccines are working, says Van Gucht

Credit: Belga

The strongly improving coronavirus figures in Belgium’s residential care centres show that the Covid-19 vaccines are working, health officials stated during a press conference on Friday.

Almost all care centres in Belgium have started vaccinating their residents and staff, and the number of new infections, outbreaks, hospitalisations and deaths are all falling, according to interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

“This is a first sign that the vaccine is doing its job,” he said. “With the vaccine, we have a powerful ally, and it is gradually starting to work.”

Last week, the number of new infections dropped strikingly, according to Van Gucht. “From 4.5 infections per 1,000 inhabitants to 2.9 in Flanders, from 3 to 2.4 in Wallonia, and from 4.7 to 1.7 in Brussels.”

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Additionally, the number of hospital admissions from residential care centres also fell, by 29% in one week. “And the number of deaths has decreased again in comparison with the week before,” he said.

To make sure that a sufficient number of people are vaccinated, the GEMS expert group advising the government recommended that the authorities should consider mandatory vaccination for care home staff if awareness-raising alone does not work.

The people in residential care centres were among the first groups to be vaccinated in Belgium’s vaccination campaign, along with hospital staff.

Since this week, Flanders has also started vaccinating people with a disability in collective care institutions. From March, the rest of the population will be vaccinated, with the aim to reach about 70% of the population by September.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times