Almost 1 in 6 Belgians have developed antibodies against Covid-19. But while the national average is 14.4 percent, there are big regional differences. At the end of November, 10 percent of the Flemish blood donors had antibodies, compared to 18 percent for Wallonia and even 26 percent in Brussels.
This puts Brussels among the West-European cities with the highest rates. It's a start towards a herd immunity, but still far from it, since a herd immutity would require some 70 percent of a population being immune.
The Red Cross has shared blood samples from donors with the Health Institute Sciensano to get an idea about how many people got the virus already at one stage or another. About 16,000 samples have been analysed so far, enough to give a good idea about the whole Belgian population.
The Red Cross underlines that these test results will not be used to determine which people have to be vaccinated or not. Antibodies may reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 again, it is no guarantee. "Carrying antibodies in your blood, is not automatically enough to resist an upcoming new infection. This also means that it is crucial to keep on following the restrictions and guidelines, whether you have developed antibodies or not", says Nena Testelmans of the Red Cross.