Batch of vaccines lost due to power outage in Ghent vaccination centre
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Batch of vaccines lost due to power outage in Ghent vaccination centre

Vaccination centre in Flanders Expo Ghent. Credit: Belga

Some batches of coronavirus vaccines have to be destroyed after a power failure in the vaccination centre at Flanders Expo in Ghent on Thursday night.

The centre’s emergency generator that was supposed to provide electricity in case of such a power failure, did not work.

“We do not know why. We are still investigating it,” centre manager Michiel Dendooven told VRT, adding that some of the vaccines that have to be kept cool can no longer be used.

People who had a vaccination between 8:0 AM and 10:00 AM on Friday will have to make a new appointment. For appointments after 10:00 AM, nothing will change as the centre was able to get enough vaccines to meet the demand thanks to surpluses from other centres.

“It is possible that some of our vaccines are still usable,” he said. “But we want to be on the safe side, which is why we have contacted the vaccination centres in the area.”

The centres in Wachtebeke, Wetteren and Oudenaarde, for example, all helped to provide vaccine doses, allowing the Ghent centre to restart its vaccinations as soon as possible.

The medical and pharmaceutical services of the vaccination centre are looking into how they can deal with the incident without shaking up the planning for the coming days too much.

“How many vaccines there were, and how many have been lost, is now being mapped out,” acting mayor Sofie Bracke told Het Laatste Nieuws.

“The people who had to come for a first or second shot this morning have been sent home. They did get a new appointment immediately,” she added.

The aim is to still vaccinate the people who missed their shot as much as possible on Friday, according to Dendooven. “It could be that we stay open longer tonight to do so, or that we call in additional staff to be able to scale up the volume throughout the day.”