Is Belgium’s vaccination strategy working?

Two months after the first jabs were administered a half a million people in this country have received a shot of one of the three approved corona vaccines.  This works out at 5.54% of the adult population.  Over 314,000 people have received their second shot – 3.41% of adults.

At present 5.9% of adults in Flanders have received a first jab.  The figures for Wallonia and Brussels are 5% and 3.2%.

Belgium opted to vaccinate people in groups at risk first.  84% of care home residents have meanwhile had both shots as well as 70% of care home workers. In Flanders 826 residents refused the vaccine, while a further 2,000 people are too ill.

5,200 Flemish care home workers (around 6%) refused the vaccine. A further 2,700 were unable to be vaccinated e.g. because they are pregnant.

Overall, a quarter of all over 85s have meanwhile been vaccinated.  More vaccines have been used on people aged between 18 and 34: nearly 100,000 people have had their first dose, but they only represent 3.9% of people in their age category.  1,700 under 18s have also had the jab: youngsters doing internships or voluntary work in care homes.

Three times as many women have been vaccinated compared to men as there are more women among the over 85s and in caring professions.

“The vaccine is already showing its power among the most vulnerable” says virologist Steven Van Gucht: deaths and hospitalisations of care home residents are down.

The number of new cases of coronavirus has been on the rise for days.  “The rise occurs across all age categories but among the over 80s the curve remains stable or is falling” says biostatistician Bart Mesuere.

“There’s an impressive reduction of up to 20% in deaths among over 85s and that can be linked to the vaccination strategy”.

The vaccination strategy of prioritising the elderly and using the few vaccines available on this the most vulnerable group seems to be working.

Virologist Van Gucht notes that the share of patients from care homes in hospital has dropped to 5.1% -down from 19.2% at the end of last year: “The number of people dying of Covid in care homes fell by 68% in only a week.”

Top stories