Under-41s in Belgium can’t sign up for Johnson & Johnson vaccine in English
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Under-41s in Belgium can’t sign up for Johnson & Johnson vaccine in English

Credit: Belga

When registering on the Qvax vaccination reserve list, people aged between 18 and 40 are now also given the option to voluntarily indicate they want a Johnson & Johnson shot, but the necessary info is not (yet) available in English.

People who want to tick the box to agree to vaccination with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the Qvax platform are first asked to “take note of the information available (on the website) on the vaccine and make an informed choice.”

However, this information is currently not available in English.

Asked about this by The Brussels Times, Joris Moonens of the Flemish Care & Health Agency said that the information is only available in Belgium’s official national languages for the moment: Dutch, French and German.

“There is no version in English,” he said. “But we will have to see if we can still translate that.”

English-speakers under 41 years old still have the option to indicate that they are willing to be vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson jab via the website, but for the time being, they will have to do it in one of the other available languages.

Signing up for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Dutch. Credit: Qvax/screengrab

The invitations for a J&J vaccine for under-41s are only going through the Qvax reserve list. Last week, the target date set by Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke was 16 June, but the option was put online one day early.

On 26 May, Belgium stopped giving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to people under 41 years old following the death of a woman in a Belgian hospital, after a very rare side effect involving blood clots.

However, as it concerns a very rare side-effect, and the benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risk according to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Belgium decided to offer the vaccines to under-41s on a voluntary basis via the Qvax reserve list.

People in their twenties could especially benefit from the option, as most of them have not yet received an invitation to be vaccinated through the usual process, meaning they could be vaccinated a few days or weeks faster if willing to accept the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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Additionally, Johnson & Johnson does not require a second dose, meaning people who have been vaccinated with it are “fully vaccinated” more quickly, and will therefore receive their Digital Covid Certificate faster.

Last week, Beke already called on people in their twenties to register on the reserve list, as doing so will likely lead to them getting their shot(s) sooner, considering most over-30s have received their invites by now.

However, indicating that you are willing to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if you are younger than 41 is not a guarantee that you will get it.

If there are leftover doses of another vaccine in your local vaccination centre, you could also be called up for your shot with that jab, regardless of whether or not you are willing to receive the Johnson & Johnson one.

As with the regular invitations, the Qvax invites also work by order of descending age: the oldest people on the reserve list are contacted first. However, the Qvax invitation is sent by text message and/or e-mail, and not by post or via your citizen profile like the normal one.

Changing your choice and unchecking the option for a Johnson & Johnson can still be done at any time.