Wallonia’s bid to increase vaccination coverage: Second chance extended to over 65s
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Wallonia’s bid to increase vaccination coverage: Second chance extended to over 65s

Credit: Belga/Kurt Desplenter

Wallonia has extended the relaunch of its coronavirus vaccination campaign to over 65-year-olds after giving people over 80 and 75 a second chance to be administered with a dose, the regional health minister Christie Morreale announced on Wednesday.

All invitations, nearly 610,000, to vaccinate people over 65 have now been sent out, and centres in the region are currently vaccinating this age group and over as well as younger people who are at risk in terms of health (comorbidities).

“In concrete terms, people in Wallonia aged 65 and over who were hesitant, wished to wait a little while before being vaccinated, mislaid their code or let it expire, or did not receive the letter intended for them, etc., who wish to be vaccinated are invited to call the free number 0800/45.019. An appointment at a vaccination centre will be made quickly,” Morreale said.

This second campaign, entitled “Re Vax 65+”, started on Tuesday afternoon, and will go on for ten days.

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On 20 April, the region launched the first such initiatives, “Re Vax 80+”, giving people aged 80 years and over a chance to be vaccinated before the end of the vaccination process in phase 1B, after which they will lose priority.

The vaccination campaign for this age group was relaunched as a “concerning number of people” more than a quarter of over 80s, in Wallonia had still not yet made an appointment to be vaccinated, even though all invitations had been sent out, according to regional authorities.

Coverage in Brussels and Flanders

The vaccination uptake for people between the ages of 65 and 74 is also just 77%, down by 10% from in Flanders, but up by 6% from the coverage of this age group in Brussels.

People in Brussels who had previously been invited to receive a coronavirus vaccine but didn’t get one will also start receiving a reminder phone call for another appointment from municipalities and health insurance companies, as the coverage of over 75s is just 70%, much lower than in Flanders, where the coverage rate is 92% for the same age category.

In Flanders, where the vaccination take-up rate is the highest of all regions in Belgium, all vaccination centres have started vaccinating the 836,000 people in the region with underlying disorders, who are expected to receive a first shot by 23 May, according to Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke.

Almost all people over 65 have been given the opportunity to be vaccinated in Flanders, which means that 93.2% of people in this age group are now protected with a first shot.