The experts that make up the High Council for Health say that there is now enough evidence that after a time the Johnson & Johnson vaccine offers insufficient protection against serious illness and hospitalisation and as such a booster jab is required.
400,000 people in Belgium that are under the age of 65 were vaccinated using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If the High Council for Health’s advice is followed, they will join all people over the age of 65 and people with certain medical conditions under that age in being offered a booster jab. All those given booster jabs with be vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccines as these are the only two vaccines currently in use in Belgium. Experts say that giving booster jabs with a different vaccine than a patient was originally given is perfectly safe and effective.
It will be up to the various Health Minister to decide whether the High Council for Health’s advice will be followed. They will meet at the Inter-Ministerial Public Health Conference on Wednesday. It is likely that they will decide to follow the advice.
But what about AstraZeneca?
As regards those that have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the High Council for Health says that there is currently not enough scientific evidence to prove that a booster jab is needed just yet. The protection given after two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine does diminish in time, but the same is true of the efficacity of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Consequently, the High Council for Health wants to wait a few more weeks before it decides on whether to recommend a booster vaccine for all regards of whether they were vaccinated with AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna.