60,000 Flemings have already brought forward the date for their second AstraZeneca jab

According to figures released by the Flemish Care and Health Agency on Friday, 60,000 Flemings have already brought forward their appointment for a second dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Originally the interval between the first and second dose of the vaccine was 12 weeks. However, on 12 May this was shortened to 8 weeks for anyone that had not yet received an invitation for their first dose. 

Those that had already received an invitation or had already been give their first dose would still have to wait 12 weeks. This meant that tens of thousands of people, including patients with underlying medical conditions, would have to wait for nearly three months for there second dose, while others that were at less risk from serious or life-threating illness if they become infected with COVID-19 would be given their second jab less than two months after having received their first. 

Since Thursday those having to wait 12 weeks for their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been able to bring forward their appointment for a second dose. In just one day 60,000 people in Flanders had done so.

The Care and Health Agency’s Dirk Dewolf told journalists that “The vaccination centres have sufficient supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine to allow for all appointments to be brought forward. However, the vaccination centres must also find enough staff during what is a holiday period to enable them to administer all the vaccines. Due to the volume of demand the help desks can’t always be reached”. 

For the time being at least the interval between the first and second dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine won’t be shortened. “There are currently not enough supplies of the Pfizer vaccine to enable us to do this. It is possible that the interval will be shortened from August. Then you would have to wait 3 weeks rather than 5 for your second jab”, Mr Dewolf said.

 

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