All people over 65 years old in Flanders will receive their first vaccination dose by the end of April, thanks to the boost to the campaign following the decision to extend the interval between Pfizer shots.
The decision by Belgium's different health ministers to postpone the second dose means that vaccinations can be carried out more quickly as new vaccines are added on a one-off basis. "We have more vaccines available ad hoc and can again speed up the vaccination campaign," an announcement by the Vaccination Taskforce read.
In concrete terms, the decision will save Flanders 1.5 to 2 weeks in terms of time, the cabinet of Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke calculated, reports De Morgen.
- Boost for Belgium's campaign: more time between Pfizer vaccinations
- Four coronavirus vaccination centres open in Brussels on 15 March
- Over 1 million vaccines administered in Belgium so far
The Flemish government is aiming to administer the first shot to all over-65s by 24 April, instead of 10 May originally. In turn, this means that vaccinations for people with underlying conditions will start two weeks earlier, on 2 April.
“The agreements with the health insurance funds have been made, the software packages for the GPs are ready, and the technical and legal aspects are being finalised,” the taskforce said.
For anyone who already received their first Pfizer vaccine, the interval between shots remains at 21 days. Later this month, the 35-day interval will be standard for all newly vaccinated people, meaning that the second dose will only be administered five weeks later.
This decision to extend the interval follows a recommendation from the Superior Health Council published in early March. Now, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the FAMHP have confirmed that this extension of the interval period does not pose any legal problems.
The Brussels Times