Van Damme stressed that the previous advice only recommended the vaccine’s use for people between 18 and 55, because there was insufficient data on the effect on the elderly.
Additionally, there is no scientific basis to support that only one dose of the vaccine is sufficient. “This is based on the data we have now,” Van Damme said.
Lastly, the Council also recommended allowing more time between the first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
“We are of the opinion that the administration of the second dose should be done as close to day 21 as possible,” Van Damme said. “It is true that the most recent data indicate that one can wait until day 42, but the Council recommends that the vaccine should be administered at the latest on day 35, as a precautionary measure.”
The new advice could accelerate Belgium’s vaccination strategy, if the country’s health ministers decide to adopt it during a meeting on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.
If the advice is approved, the Vaccination Task Force can redesign the campaign. Last Sunday, Federal Minister of Public Health Frank Vandenbroucke already said it would be a “game-changer” if AstraZeneca would be allowed to be administered to the elderly.