Starting on Tuesday 6 April, anyone can sign up to join a reserve list for vaccinations. But what does that mean?
Every day, people who have been scheduled to be vaccinated fail, for whatever reason, to keep that appointment. Those spaces are unused. More importantly, the doses of vaccine reserved for them go unused, and since those are fragile and require special preservation treatment, may even go to waste.
To avoid that problem, Tuesday sees the start of a new system of reserves. Sing up for the list, give your contact details and availability, and if there are doses left over at a vaccination centre near you, you may be contacted to come and be vaccinated.
There are some caveats, however. In the first place, the system is not first-come, first served. You will only be contacted if you are part of a group that is currently being prioritised. No question, for example, of a young fit 25-year-old taking a space intended for an older person with cardiac problems.
“People in their twenties can register on the list at the moment, but they cannot be called up yet,” said a spokesperson for the vaccination task force.
Secondly, the system is only working from Tuesday in two vaccination centres in Flanders, with others intended to join in soon. In Brussels, a similar system is being operated by Doctena, health minister Alain Maron (Ecolo) said.
“Brussels has signed a contract with the company Doctena so that registrations in the centres no longer go through the Doclr system. Doctena will include a last-minute function for vaccinations,” Maron said on Saturday. The new system should be operational by mid-April.
Some centres have been operating their own call-in lists, usually concentrating on groups considered a priority, such as police officers and firefighters. Such decisions have come in for some criticism of their arbitrary nature. So a single system is preferred.
Registration on the list takes place from Tuesday on the Qvax platform, which provides all kinds of information and advice on vaccination.
“It may take some time before you are called from the reserve list and you may receive an invitation for vaccination under the normal system sooner,” the website warns.
The platform allows you to keep your availability up to date so that you do not receive an invitation you’re unable to make. If you do receive an invitation, you have 30 minutes to confirm.
“Otherwise your turn is over for that moment, and the invitation goes to the next on the list,” the task force said.