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"Upcoming Janssen vaccine can compensate for AstraZeneca backlog"

The first corona vaccines from Johnson & Johnson are expected to arrive in Belgium on 16 or 17 April. This was confirmed by Dirk Ramaekers, the president of Belgium's vaccination taskforce. The question remains whether the Belgian vaccination strategy can really gain some speed, but it may happen during the course of April.

Next week, we should learn more about the exact deliveries and the timeframe, but Belgium is counting on 1.4 million doses from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in the longer run. The advantage is that this vaccine only requires one jab, which can accelerate the vaccination strategy substantially after the bad experiences with AstraZeneca. At present, only 10 percent of the adult population in Belgium has received a first jab so far. 

Ramaekers confirmed that Pfizer has turned out to be a very reliable partner so far. This is good news, because Pfizer/BioNTech have promised 1.4 million extra doses between now and the end of April. So far, they have delivered 1.2 million. "Because Pfizer has proved a solid and reliable partner, we will no longer keep a second vaccine in stock after giving somebody a first dose", Ramaekers explained. This should also allow the campaign to accelerate. 

Pfizer has proved to be the most reliable partner so far

AstraZeneca remains a difficult story. Deliveries have been very irregular with last-minute adaptations so far and the promised doses have not been given. At the moment, 500,000 doses have arrived, with another 285,000 expected in the coming two weeks. 

Ramaekers could not make any statement on the Moderna vaccine. "We can't say anything for the weeks after next week. This complicates matters, but deliveries by Moderna were relatively small anyway."  

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