Flemish Health Minister wants to see 16 and 17-year-olds vaccinated by 11 July

The Flemish Health Minister Wouter Beke (Christian democrat) has said in an interview that he aims to offer all 16- and 17-year-olds in Flanders a coronavirus vaccine by 11 July. Previously Mr Beke had expressed his intent to have offered all adults in Flanders a jab before the Flemish Holiday on 11 July. 

Speaking in an interview with the commercial television channel VTM’s lunchtime news programme, Mr Beke went a step further. Currently the lower age limit for the vaccination is 18. However, the High Council for Health is expected to issue an advisory memo on the vaccination of those under the age of 18 within the next few days. Mr Beke expects the advice given by the High Council for Health will be positive. 

The Flemish Health Minister added that he also expects that the vaccination campaign in Flanders will have been completed by mid-August. By then everyone that wishes to be vaccinated will have been given the necessary two vaccine doses (or single dose if the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is used). 

The Vaccination Task Force says that the aim of completing the vaccination campaign by mid-August is “attainable”, although this will be dependent on vaccine deliveries. The Task Force says that vaccinating 16- and 17-year-olds will only take two to three days. 

The possibility of vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds is also being examined. However, no decision will be taken until the European Medicines Agency (EMA) provides extra data and advice on whether younger teenagers should be given a jab. 

On Monday 17 May the invitations for the vaccination of Flemings under the age of 65 that don’t have underlying health issues will start to be sent out. “We’re on schedule”, Mr Beke told VTM. 

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