The figure is 100,000 up on the year. GPs and chemists have given their all to impress on people the need to get the jab. The Belgian population is rising and so is the number of people at risk. As a result of the drive stocks of the vaccine are virtually exhausted. A handful of doses remain at hospital chemists. Wholesalers are sold out. Producers have no more stocks.
"Producers base production on last year's figures but will manufacture a few too few rather than a few too many" says Dr Van Ranst. "We urge risk groups to get the jab in months with an "O", October and November. Mid November is an ideal time. We're the end of December. It's understandable stocks are exhausted."
The virologist urges the public at large to consider getting the jab next year. Extra doses of the vaccines cannot be produced as it takes six months!
So far few cases of influenza have been reported. The annual epidemic is in the starting blocks but it will take some time before it takes hold.