Over 45,000 under-41s register for Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Flanders

Over 45,000 under-41s register for Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Flanders
Credit: Belga

Over 45,000 people in Flanders between the ages of 18 and 40 have registered for a Johnson & Johnson shot since the option was made available on Tuesday, according to the Flemish Agency for Care and Health.

Belgium stopped giving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to under-41s following concerns about rare blood clots several weeks ago, but since yesterday, they can indicate that they are still willing to get it on a voluntary basis, when registering via the Qvax reserve list.

“It was the right choice to offer J&J voluntarily,” said Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke on Twitter on Wednesday morning, announcing that over 30,000 people already picked that option.

Later that same day, the Care and Health Agency updated that figure to about 45,000 candidates for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and encouraged everyone who did not receive an invite yet to register for the reserve list.

Anyone who wants to indicate that they are willing to be vaccinated with the J&J vaccine, however, is first asked to take note of the information available on the website, including the risk-benefit analysis, so they can make an informed choice.

This information, however, is currently not available in English, but only in Dutch, French and German.

People in their twenties could especially benefit from the option to get Johnson & Johnson, 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, according to Beke.

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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 centre, you could also be called up for that jab, regardless of whether or not you are willing to get the Johnson & Johnson one.

Additionally, teens aged 16 and 17 can now also register on the Qvax list, which some 6,000 of them already did, according to Beke.

Currently, they are not (yet) eligible for a Johnson & Johnson shot, and can only get a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, as that is the only one currently approved for use for that age group.

“The vaccination hunger is high, also among 16 and 17-year-olds,” Beke said. “They will be invited when there are open slots in a vaccination centre. We will, of course, first finish the people invited in the older populations.”

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