Belgium to administer third vaccine doses to boost immunity from end 2021
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Belgium to administer third vaccine doses to boost immunity from end 2021

Credit: Belga

Belgian residents will very likely receive a third dose of a coronavirus vaccine before the end of 2021, according to the head of the country’s Vaccination Taskforce Dirk Ramaekers.

The Taskforce is currently working out the practical details of administering such a third shot, Ramaekers said on VTM news on Friday.

“We can say with a fair degree of certainty that we will start administering an additional dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the end of this year, certainly the beginning of next year,” he added.

“This extra shot is a booster to raise immunity from the first vaccination round,” Ramaekers said, adding that it has not yet been decided whether everyone will receive an extra shot.

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“Studies are still underway on this,” he said. “Maybe it will only be for the high-risk groups, but we are still taking into account that it could be for everyone.”

The Taskforce has been working on the practical issue of this extra round of vaccinations, which is called “phase 3.”

“The aim is to work the Covid vaccination into the regular system. There will still be vaccination centres at first, but instead of the current 150, there will perhaps be one or two per province,” Ramaekers said. “The work will shift to GPs, home nurses, company doctors and pharmacists. How all this will work out, we are still investigating.”

He raised the issue of how one single patient cannot just go to the doctor for their shot, as one vial of a vaccine contains several that have to be administered as soon as possible, which “remains annoying.”

Last week, the European Commission signed a contract with the Pfizer pharmaceutical company for the delivery of 1.8 billion vaccines, which will be adapted to better protect against new variants, by the end of 2023.