West Flanders has the highest vaccination rates in Belgium, according to data from Sciensano, but the province is struggling with some of the highest numbers of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic first began.
Koksijde, Middelkerke and De Haan are at the top of the list of the most vaccinated municipalities, with 88, 87 and 86 percent of their population fully vaccinated, reports RTBF.
In West Flanders, 60 out of 64 municipalities are above 80 percent vaccination, which is far above the Belgian average (76.01 percent).
Despite its high vaccination rates, West Flanders is dealing with more than 10,000 cases of Covid-19 in a single week.
With an incidence of 1,363 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days, it is by far the province where the virus is circulating the most, and where the increase remains the strongest (+67 percent in one week).
This is the highest rate of infection in the province since the beginning of the pandemic. Even in the second wave, the peak was just over 8,000 infections per week (during the first wave, only the most serious cases were detected).
The record number of infections in West Flanders since the beginning of the pandemic was hit on 8 November, with 2,251 cases detected in a single day.
Experts now say that vaccination only partially protects against transmission, but emphasise that it’s still highly effective against severe forms of the virus.
Highly effective, however, does not mean 100 percent effective. Experts warn that unfortunately, a portion of the very large number of infections will result in more serious cases.
With 54 admissions in just 24 hours on 3 November, and 49 on 10 November, West Flanders reached record figures for 2021, more than the peak of the third wave (50 on 27 March).
Vaccination rates remain uneven across Belgium, with 80 percent of people in Flanders fully vaccinated but 69 percent in Wallonia and just 56 percent in Brussels. In the German-speaking region of Ostbelgien, 64 percent of people are fully vaccinated.