Pierre Van Damme (Antwerp University) was speaking in the VRT's evening television news "Het Journaal 7" yesterday. "The Canadian province of Quebec wants to try out out this approach. We will monitor this carefully. (...) Maybe it is something we can apply in Belgium as well."
Mr Van Damme said that this kind of approach would have two major benefits: the first one is that a larger part of the population can have the vaccine in a shorter period of time.
This would mean that also the youngsters - who would normally come last - would also be able to get a jab before the summer holidays. In fact, the whole Belgian population could be vaccinated before summer.
Second, the herd immunity would grow at a much faster rate. Coronavirus would have less chance to spread further and to mutate, reducing the risk of a new and potentially more dangerous or more contagious version.
The so-called "vaccination taskforce"' will have to make a decision in the coming weeks. The first vaccines for Europe (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and possibly the British AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine) all need two doses to reach the best protection of about 95 percent.
This different approach would have two major benefits
Health Minister: "To be examined"
It is not entirely clear how much less potential it would have on a grand scale when only one dose is being taken, with a second one only being delivered about six months later, instead of a couple of weeks.
The Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said that this new strategy can be considered, but the EU will have to be consulted anyway, as they have negotiated the purchase of the vaccines. Experts will also investigate what could be the medical consequences of administering just one dose, he added.