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Marc Van Ranst gets AstraZeneca vaccine today

Credit: Belga

Prominent Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst (55) will receive his first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, he announced on Twitter.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is “very safe and effective,” Van Ranst stressed, sharing a link explaining the vaccine’s “image problem.”

“That’s why, as a virologist and health worker, I will be administered the AstraZeneca vaccine this afternoon at the vaccination centre in Willebroek,” he tweeted.


Van Ranst referred to results from a study in Scotland which were announced on Tuesday, showing that the AstraZeneca vaccine works well in people over 65, “and even after one dose.”

By the fourth week after receiving the initial dose, the AstraZeneca vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalisation due to Covid-19 by up to 94%, according to the initial results.

However, recent concerns have arisen over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to premature communication, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht.

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“People seem to believe this is an inferior vaccine, but we would like to stress that this is very much not the case,” he said during a press conference last week, adding that there is no need to be worried.

Van Gucht stressed that Belgium chose not to use the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 55 years old yet, because there is still too little data from people in that age group, not because the vaccine does not work as well in the elderly.

Additionally, there is no indication that the vaccine does not protect against serious complaints, Van Gucht said, stressing that protection against serious symptoms is crucial, “because it prevents people from ending up in hospital, which is the main reason why we vaccinate.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times