ROBIN UTRECHT

Everybody to Brussels for the jab?

A thinktank linked to Antwerp University, but also including experts from the organisations eTheRNA and Pharma.aero, has considered what the best way is to get everybody in Belgium, who wishes to get vaccinated against coronavirus, vaccinated.  They came to the conclusion that organising vaccination via the GP out-of-hours post in your locality would provide the best result.

Antwerp University’s Wouter Dewulf says “We could get everybody to come to the Heizel Palaces in Brussels.  Logistically this would be the easiest option.  Bringing in vaccines and other equipment would be simple but getting everybody to come to Brussels for a jab wouldn’t.  International research shows that the greater the mobility demand is, the lower the uptake of the vaccine will be.”

The thinktank counts on first line health care workers, hospital staff, care home residents and care workers being inoculated at their place of work or at the care home as a priority. This leaves 8,661,000 people in Belgium over 14 who qualify for the jab. If 80% come forward, this means 6,929,000 people need to be inoculated.

If vaccines are distributed across the country, pharmacists and GPS could play a role.  Antwerp University’s Roel Gevaers: “People won’t have to travel.  People will want to get vaccinated.  Logistically this is a nightmare.  It will require thorough planning for each of the many thousands of distribution points.  Vaccines need to be refrigerated that will bump up the cost of the ‘last mile’.”

Simulations show that the best result can be achieved by an in-between solution with distribution of the vaccine organised at a level between local district and your local GP’s out-of-hours post. 

“Logistic costs are manageable and travel demands are limited.  A combination of scenarios is possible.  Our calculations show that in any case it will be quite a challenge, but one that can be met.”

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