Boost for Belgium’s campaign: more time between Pfizer vaccinations
Wednesday, 10 March 2021
Belgium decided that the standard interval between two Pfizer injections will be extended to 35 days (five weeks), during the Interministerial Health Conference on Wednesday.
The decision to postpone the second shot means that the country’s vaccination campaign will be sped up, according to a press release by the Vaccination Taskforce.
Until now, a second shot was always held back for each Pfizer vaccine that was administered, to ensure that those who received the first shot could get their second vaccination in time, even if there are supply problems.
According to Dirk Ramaekers, head of the Vaccination Task Force, the decision means that “we can accelerate the deployment of 200,000 extra doses.”
During the press conference following the Consultative Committee last Friday, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke had already stated that such an extension could constitute a “possibility of further acceleration” of the country’s campaign vaccination, but the concrete impact is still being calculated.
The ministers also reaffirmed the order of the vaccination campaign, with at-risk patients being vaccinated after the over-65s, despite criticism of this decision by GPs who fear for the administrative burden and the privacy of the patients.
The Vaccination taskforce stated that every effort is currently being made to make this phase operational from 2 April.
“The agreements with the health insurance funds have been made, the software packages of the general practitioners are ready, and the technical and legal aspects are being finalised,” the taskforce said.
Update: The cabinet of Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke calculated that the boost means that all over-65s will get their first shot before the end of April. The latest information can be found here.