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Vaccinologist says an extra jab a possibility for those given AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson"

The vaccinologist Professor Pierre Van Damme has told VRT News that people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines may be offered an additional booster jab. There have been indications for some time that the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines offer lower levels of protection against coronavirus than the vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna. 

Furthermore, their effectiveness diminishes more rapidly. Consequently, Belgium is considering offering booster jabs to everyone that was vaccinated against coronavirus with the AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. 

Currently only those over the age of 65, (health) care professionals, those living in care homes and people with conditions that reduce their immunity against infection are being offered booster jabs. However, soon many more people could be offered an additional coronavirus jab.

Professor Van Damme told our weekday evening current affairs programme ‘Terzake’ that "We are receiving a lot of messages from people under the age of 65 that were vaccinated with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson and want to be given a booster jab”.  

The Antwerp University vaccinologist added "This is currently being considered by the High Council for Health. We want to take a decision around mid-November. It will then go before the Vaccination Task Force. It will then be up to the Health Ministers”.

International experts are concerned that the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines offer lower levels of protection against coronavirus than the mRNA-based vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna. Furthermore, their efficacity appears to diminish more quickly than that of the mRNA-based coronavirus vaccines. As a result, many countries are already offering those that were vaccinated with AstraZeneca and/or Johnson & Johnson a booster jab. One example of this is Germany where those that were given the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine are being given a booster jab using either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Currently, only the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines being used in Belgium. 


"We now know that a booster dose of either Pfizer or Moderna is safe and effective for people that were previously vaccinated with AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson. A few months ago, we didn’t know this. We are now looking at all the scientific data before we issue definitive advice on this”, Professor Van Damme said. 

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