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Belgians flock to Lille’s monkeypox vaccine “open day”

A large queue gathered outside a vaccination centre in the northern French city of Lille on Saturday morning. Among those waiting were many Belgians that had made the short trip across the border to get immunised against monkeypox. Today (6 August) anyone that wishes to can get a monkeypox jab in Lille regardless of where they are from. 

In France it is much easy to get immunised against monkeypox than it is here in Belgium. A number of Belgians have already got a monkeypox jab in Lille. The French city is only around 20km from the border, just over 100 kilometres from Brussels and only around 70km from Ghent.

The idea for the “open day” came about as the existing opening hours at the vaccination centre were too restricted and the queues outside the centre too long. The city authorities in Lille believed that it was time to move up a gear.

A lot of Belgians are expected at the Lille vaccination centre. During the past few days several dozen Belgians have been given the monkeypox vaccine in Lille. They are going there because here in Belgium only a limited group of people is able to be vaccinated against monkeypox. In France, where many more doses of monkeypox vaccine are available, preventative vaccination is available to a much wider group.

Until an order of 30,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine arrives here in October, Belgium is having to get by with a stock of just 3,040 doses. This means that, unlike in France, not everyone that wants to be preventatively vaccinated against monkeypox can be. Furthermore, Belgium is currently administering just one dose of the vaccine per patient, while some other countries are administering two doses. 

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