Delivery issues further delay Flemish coronavirus vaccine rollout
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Delivery issues further delay Flemish coronavirus vaccine rollout

Credit: Belga

Ongoing delivery issues have further impacted Flanders’ coronavirus vaccination rollout, as 97,117 new vaccinations have been scheduled in the region for next week, a quarter less than the 130,000 doses this week, according to an update from the Agency for Care and Health.

This decrease is mainly due to significantly fewer vaccinations – 20,000 down from 75,000 this week – being planned in the region’s hospitals, which are relying only on the 92,000 available Pfizer doses, as Moderna’s vaccine will not be delivered at all.

All available AstraZeneca vaccines will go straight to the vaccination centres, where vaccinations will gradually increase to almost 52,000 next week, which is 30,000 more than the 21,500 shots administered there this week.

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Next week, another 20,000 people with disabilities in collective care institutions will receive a vaccine, 6,000 more than this week. However, only 4,000 residents of service flats will be vaccinated, down from 15,000.

In residential care centres, the vaccination campaign will be finalised next week, after the last people, around 700 more, have been vaccinated with their second shots.

Currently, a total of almost 350,000 people living in Flanders have received their vaccination, equating to just over 5% of the region’s population.

On Wednesday, Flemish Health Minister Wouter Beke announced the vaccination rollout would be sped up following the advice from the Superior Health Council to also start using the AstraZeneca vaccine on people over 55 years old.

However, this change won’t be implemented until 15 March, and the vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca has already announced that 13,900 fewer vaccines will be delivered during this week, which could result in further delays in the rollout.

The 72,100 doses delivered by AstraZeneca to the region this week will be saved for two weeks when they will be used for the frontline staff and the first people aged over 85 who expect to receive their shots in the vaccination centres.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times