Under-41s can voluntarily get Johnson & Johnson vaccine from next week

Under-41s can voluntarily get Johnson & Johnson vaccine from next week
Credit: Belga/Dirk Waem

People in Flanders under 41 years old will soon be able to still get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on a voluntary basis, announced Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke after the interministerial health conference.

From Wednesday 16 June, under-41s will be able to sign up for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot against the coronavirus, even though Belgium is temporarily only administering it to people over that age following concerns of rare blood clots.

"QVAX is currently being adjusted so that [under-41s] can indicate that they want the vaccine," Beke tweeted. "The number of people who will get J&J will depend on the deliveries."

Belgium is currently still waiting for new deliveries of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but there is no clarity on the millions of doses that are blocked from distribution until they get the green light from the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA is investigating a number of batches of the vaccine after problems were discovered during an inspection of a factory at a subcontractor of Johnson & Johnson in the US city of Baltimore a few weeks ago.

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"In the best-case scenario, Europe can expect 35 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the coming weeks, 900,000 of which for Belgium," Dirk Ramaekers, the head of the Vaccination Task Force, said during a press briefing on Saturday.

"In the worst-case scenario, Europe will only receive 18 million doses, of which 450,000 for Belgium," he added. "Obviously, that would mean a delay for our vaccination campaign."

Following the decision to implement an age limit for the vaccine and the news about the blocked deliveries at the end of May, Beke already announced delays as it would no longer be feasible to give every adult their first shot before the initial aim of 11 July.

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