Only half of the over-80s have got a second coronavirus booster shot
Only around half of Flemings over the age of 80 that have received an invitation to get a second booster vaccine to protect them against coronavirus have taken up the offer. The figures appear in the daily ‘Het Belang van Limburg’ and have been confirmed by the Flemish Health and Welfare Agency. Meanwhile, vaccination centres in our region have been told to prepare for a new mass vaccination campaign against coronavirus in the autumn.
In Flanders, residents of residential care homes and people over 80 who live at home are currently being offered a second booster jab. However, of the Flemings over the age of 80 who have received an invitation just half have accepted.
In most cases, their previous booster jab was administered more than six months ago. As the protection given by the various coronavirus vaccines decreases over time, an additional booster shot can boost immunity. So far just under 100,000 people in Flanders have been given a second booster shot.
Extra protection for the most vulnerable
The Flemish Care and Health Agency says that an additional booster shot is important as a precautionary measure. The agency’s Joris Moonens told VRT News "We don't know what will come our way in the summer and the months thereafter. Currently we have a number of Omikron variants doing the rounds.”
"We are of course making this offer to provide the most vulnerable before we see deaths and hospital admissions increase."
Mr Moonens, believes there could be several reasons why people many people over 80 have not taken up the offer of an additional booster jab.
"People have already been vaccinated several times and are now perhaps looking more towards autumn to get their second booster. In the minds of many people, corona also seems to have faded into the background. All these factors will be playing a role."
As the booster vaccine campaign is still underway, the Health and Care Agency expects that the percentage of people over 80 who accept the invitation for the second booster will increase during the coming weeks.
Mass vaccination in the Autumn
In the meantime, all vaccination centers in Flanders have been told to prepare for a large-scale booster vaccination campaign this autumn. "There is a strong expectation that we will start a booster campaign in the autumn for a broader target group than just the over-80s. How large that target group will be has yet to be defined." When exactly the campaign will start and which vaccines will be used, has still to be confirmed”.