The campaign to administer a third dose of coronavirus vaccine in Flanders is ahead of schedule, the Flemish Agency for Care and Health and Flemish Health Minister Wouter Beke (CD&V) announced Thursday.
While the initial goal was to vaccinate 2.5 million people by the end of January, this goal will most likely be reached by Thursday, Belga News Agency reports, though the pace of the campaign varies from region to region.
“The spread of the new omicron variant requires efforts on several levels,” said Flemish Minister of Health Wouter Beke. “The vaccination centres have understood this signal. All hands are on deck.”
Most vaccination centres were able to speed up the campaign, but not without difficulties. Twelve centres in particular are still facing problems with waiting capacity.
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Staff shortages are also a concern. Some centres need pharmaceutical support and medical experts and staff to carry out vaccinations.
The recently enacted emergency law has created the opportunity to recruit additional staff for vaccine preparation and administration. Pharmacists, general practitioners and hospitals are also providing support.
According to the Sciensano Health Institute, almost 30,000 hospital admissions have been prevented by vaccination.
Onze vaccinatiecentra hebben de voorbije dagen opnieuw heel wat prikken gezet. We halen vandaag al de kaap van 2,5 miljoen boosterprikken, ruim voor het einde van het jaar. Bedankt aan iedereen, voor én achter de schermen! ? @ZorgVlaanderen— Wouter Beke (@wbeke) December 23, 2021
Translation: Our vaccination centres have once again administered a large number of shots in recent days. Today, we have already reached the milestone of 2.5 million booster shots, well before the end of the year. Thank you to everyone, in front of and behind the scenes!
The risk of hospital admissions fell from 7% in the second wave to less than 3% at the end of the third wave.
“When we look at the European ranking, Flanders is in fourth place,” Beke said. “We are in the top tier.”
The vaccination of primary school children is due to start soon, with the campaign scheduled to start in the first week of 2022.