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Belgium announces coronavirus vaccination strategy

Belgium’s public health ministers announced the country’s coronavirus vaccination strategy, including the order of priority groups to receive the vaccine, during a press conference on Thursday.

This article will be updated as the press conference develops. For the latest information, make sure to refresh the page regularly.

“We have a view on not one, but several working vaccines, and there are more in the pipeline,” said Wouter Beke, president of the Interministerial Conference on Public Health. “The process is supervised entirely, because safety is essential.”

“It seems that 2021 will be a new start, after a year that we might want to forget, but cannot forget,” he said. “It is not unthinkable that we will be able to start the first vaccinations at the beginning of January. To a limited extent, because the number of vaccines available will not yet be so high.”

These population groups will be vaccinated as a matter of priority, in this order:

1. All residents and staff in residential care centres for the elderly, followed by those in other collective care institutions, including volunteers.

2. Healthcare personnel in hospitals, and healthcare personnel working in the first line.

3. Other staff members working in hospitals and staff members of health services, such as centres for vaccination and cancer screening, Child & Family,… This category includes all people who, while doing their jobs, are at risk of being infected, but the risk is lower than for the above category.

4. People aged 65 years and over, either indiscriminately or in descending age categories. This will depend on the availability of the vaccine.

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5. People between 45 and 65 years old with specific underlying disorders, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung, kidney and liver diseases, etc. The list of conditions is not yet definitive.

6. People exercising an essential profession, according to criteria that will be further defined.

Where all these people will be vaccinated will depend on what stage of vaccination we are at. Health care personnel will be vaccinated at their workplace. Care centre residents will be vaccinated in the residential care centre where they live. For the rest, we will look at the test and triage centres.

Maïthé Chini & Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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