Second vaccine doses can be moved (a little), Flanders announces

Second vaccine doses can be moved (a little), Flanders announces
Credit: Belga

People in Flanders will be able to move the appointment to get their second vaccination dose, to make holiday planning a little easier in the summer, the Flemish Care and Health Agency announced at a press briefing on Friday.

Rescheduling the second appointment will only be possible within limits, according to Dirk Dewolf of the Agency, who said that "it is impossible to rebook everyone's time slot, as millions of vaccines have to be given within a few weeks."

As the majority of the general adult population can expect their first shot in the five weeks between the start of June and 11 July, their second shot will likely be scheduled right in the middle of the summer holidays, due to the interval of four weeks (Moderna), five weeks (Pfizer) or 12 weeks (AstraZeneca) between two doses.

From now on, however, the interval can be changed a little:

-  Pfizer: the time between shots can be extended, but only by two days (from 35 days now, to 37 days)

-  Moderna: the second dose can be moved forward or back by two days (from 28 days now to 26, or 30 days)

-  AstraZeneca: the second shot can be moved forward or back by five days (from 84 days now, to 79 or 89 days)

-  For Johnson & Johnson, a second dose is not necessary, as only a single shot is required.

"People have to realise that our task at the moment is to give as many people as possible a vaccine as quickly as possible," Dewolf and Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke said.

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"That is an extremely high burden for the centres, and there is simply no room for adjustments on a large scale," they added, calling on everyone to take the suggested vaccination timing in the invitation into account as much as possible.

"Make your travel plans in function of the vaccination, the other way round is not possible," they said. "If you want to rebook, the number of free slots will be limited anyway, as we are going to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of people a week."

Additionally, the Care and Health Agency asks people to rebook their appointment online themselves, and not to call the helpdesks of the vaccination centres to ask for another date for the second shot.

Those who really cannot make it for their second dose, are asked to inform their vaccination centre. The possibility of a catch-up vaccination after the summer months is currently being looked into.

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