Virus expert says "If all goes well, first vaccinations against coronavirus in Belgium will be in the spring”

As the number of people testing positive for the virus and hospitalisations of COVID-19 patients continue to increase, the virologist Steven Van Gucht offered a glimmer of hope at Monday morning’s Sciensano press conference. Professor Van Gucht told the press conference that all being well by the spring the first vaccinations against COVID-19 should start to be administered to people here in Belgium. However, we will first have to get through a “difficult winter” and the vaccine won’t solve all the issues raised by the pandemic. 

A vaccine against coronavirus is being eagerly awaited across the globe. It is seen as the key to us being able to return to normality. But when we can we expect a vaccine to be available here in Belgium?  

Professor Van Gucht told the press conference "At the moment there are various studies ongoing with a number of protype vaccines. We hope that the first results will be available in the coming months. If all goes well and the vaccine is safe, the initial vaccination campaign in Belgium will get under way in early spring, between March and June First those from the highest risks groups and those working in the health care sector will be vaccinated."

A difficult winter


However, before the spring we will still have to get through the winter. "The coming winter will be the most difficult, but we will have to perseve". But why will this be the case? Is the virus now more infectious than it was in March? “No” says Professor Van Gucht.

"The virus is the same. It is very, very similar to what it was in March or April. However, the Context has changed. It is colder. People are living inside more and have more contacts there. This means that they become infected more easily.

This is certainly part of the explanation for the sharp growth (in infections). This has nothing really to do with the characteristics of the virus, but with the weather and the context”. 

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