stad Aarschot

Booster programme to be speeded up

Just like in the UK Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) is eager to see more booster (or third) shots of the corona vaccine go into arms.  The premier told VRT Radio: “(Flemish health) Minister Beke (Flemish Christian democrat) has already promised a tremendous speeding up of the booster programme in Flanders. It will be done by deploying more staff and improving the organisation.”

“We are one of five countries with the world’s highest number of booster jabs.  Minister Beke intends to get at least a further 900,000 jabs into arms in Flanders during the next weeks.  We are eager to retain the lead we already possess and do the utmost by the end of the year”.

Boosters are needed to combat the omicron variant.  In ten days, rates of omicron rose from 0.3% to 3%.

“It’s going incredibly fast” says virologist Marc Van Ranst.  “If it continues like this half of all cases will be omicron by the end of the year and omicron will be dominant by the end of January.  South Africa, the UK and Denmark are ahead of us, but we won’t escape”.

Even if omicron makes people less unwell than say delta variant – and that’s a big ‘if’ – there will be a tremendous increase in the number of cases.

Today 23% of over 12s in Belgium have had the booster jab.  1.8 million people have had the booster in Flanders.  The aim is to get 2.5 million boosted by the end of the year. 358,444 people are planned to get the booster this week with 194,737 next week.

A further 700,000 jabs will be needed to meet the end of year target. 550,000 are already planned.  

The elderly, people with health issues, health care staff and people who got the one-jab Janssen vaccine get priority.

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