'We're in a transition phase': Task Force responds to Belgium's slow vaccine rollout

'We're in a transition phase': Task Force responds to Belgium's slow vaccine rollout
© Belga

The gap between the number of vaccines against coronavirus delivered to Belgium and actual vaccinations has increased in recent weeks, according to figures released by the Vaccination Task Force.

“We’re in a transition phase, due to the opening up of vaccination centres and problems with launching the invitation system,” Task Force Chairman Dirk Ramaekers explained on Saturday. The aim is to reduce the gap in the next few weeks, he said.

The latest figures show that over 1.5 million doses of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved in Europe – Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca – have been delivered to Belgium. Of these, 943,000 doses have been administered as first or second injections.

Moreover, the gap has been widening. One week ago, 830,000 doses had been administered out of the 1.28 million delivered, while in mid-February, the difference was just 200,000 doses.

"Of course there is always a certain delay time, a treatment time, that cannot be avoided,” Mr. Ramaekers said on Saturday. “We are trying to keep it as short as possible, but it ranges all the same between one and two weeks.”

He explained further that a reserve needed to be maintained to anticipate on possible delivery problems and to guarantee that the first dose of a vaccine can be followed by the second.

Mr. Ramaekers also had good news: the AstraZeneca vaccine can be given to people in all age groups.

“There will be fewer practical problems in vaccination centres,” he said. “It has also been decided to reduce the reserve stocks of Pfizer vaccines since deliveries are now very stable.”

The Brussels Times

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