Vaccination of hospital staff suspended: “We feel let down by the authorities”

The Flemish Care and Health Agency has halted the planned vaccination of hospital staff in several hospitals.  The decision was taken after vaccine producer Pfizer announced it would supply fewer doses while changes were made at its plant in a bid to upscale production.

The agency now plans to stock vaccines in future in order to deal with any future fluctuations in supplies.  This should prevent any abrupt, unexpected changes to the vaccination strategy like the one we are now experiencing.

With larger stocks the vaccination process would probably not have had to be changed so abruptly.

The agency’s Joris Moonens: “If we wish to meet our commitment when supplies are uncertain, then I believe we need to include buffers in the system.”

It was Margot Cloet, head of Zorgnet-Icuro that represents hospitals and care homes, who first brought the news of the suspension of the vaccination of hospital workers to light: “We had a meeting with the agency where they told us they were probably suspending the vaccinations due to uncertain supplies over the next two weeks.”

Steven Callens, expert in infectious diseases at Ghent University Hospital, told VRT: “I can assure you the news of the halting of vaccinations came as a very hard blow to hospital staff.”

In Limburg at least two hospitals have had to postpone the start of their vaccination drive.  Dr Yves Breysem of Jessa Hospital: “To hear at the last minute that the vaccination schedule of hospital staff is under threat due to lower supplies is a great disappointment and frustrating.”

“The least I can say is we feel let down by the authorities that made repeated promises the vaccinations would start as soon as possible” says Dr Raf Lippens at Sint-Trudo Hospital.

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