Over 60,000 people living in Flanders brought forward their appointment for the second dose of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine, since the authorities made it possible from 1 July.
Initially, AstraZeneca required a waiting period of 12 weeks between the two doses, but on 12 May, that period was shortened to eight weeks for everyone vaccinated after that date.
Since Thursday 1 July, however, the thousands of people who had already been invited before 12 May - including many high-risk patients - for who that shorter interval was not yet possible, can also move up their second dose.
"Some 60,000 people have already done so in the meantime," Dirk Dewolf of the Agency for Care and Health said during a weekly press briefing on Friday.
"The vaccination centres have received enough AstraZeneca doses today to bring forward all appointments," he said, adding that the centres also need to find enough staff during the holiday period to be able to administer them all.
- Time between AstraZeneca doses can now be shortened to eight weeks
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"We therefore ask for a little patience and understanding for the vaccination centres," Dewolf said. "The helpdesks are also not always accessible due to the many questions."
For Wallonia, people can move up their second AstraZeneca shot from today, depending on the available times and vaccines in the vaccination centres. To do so, they must go to the same centre as they went to for their first shot.
Changing the date of your appointment is possible via the confirmation e-mail of your initial slot for the second dose, or by calling the free vaccination call centre in Wallonia (0800/45.019).
Additionally, there will be no shorter period between the doses of Pfizer's jab for the time being, as there are not enough shots in stock, according to him.
"Possibly, however, the waiting period will be shortened from August. You would then have to wait for three instead of five weeks for the second shot," Dewolf said.
More information on the decision to shorten the interval between AstraZeneca vaccines can be found here.