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A “reset” for the Belgian vaccine strategy

To make up for lost time, the vaccination campaign is being revised by expanding the use of AstraZeneca. Just like what has already been recommended in Luxembourg or in France.



To make up for lost time, the vaccination campaign is being revised by expanding the use of AstraZeneca. Just like what has already been recommended in Luxembourg or in France.

From our correspondent Max HELLEFF (Brussels) – Not a day goes by without the vaccination campaign stumbling over one problem or another. Tuesday, the federal platform Doclr experienced new failures. The computer system was once again broken, making it impossible to encode people who come for vaccination and make an appointment for the injection of the second Pfizer dose. On Wednesday, on the contrary, queues of several hours stretched out in front of the large vaccination center of Heysel (Brussels).

To snatch the country from the vaccination floor, the Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke proposed a “reset” of the campaign. On Wednesday, the various officials from the federated entities and the Flemish socialist Vandenbroucke therefore met for a strategic meeting. In particular, it was decided that the AstraZeneca vaccine could be administered to those over 55 years of age.

A choice thus following the opinion of the High Council of Health which, on the basis of English and Scottish data, estimates that it can be used on all the people of more than 18 years, “without upper age limit” . Also, there will be no delay in the administration of the second Pfizer dose. At this time, barely 4% of the Belgian population have received a dose of Pfizer vaccine and only 2% have been fully vaccinated.

Even before the strategic meeting on Wednesday, Walloon Minister-President Elio Di Rupo nevertheless affirmed that “the logistics are ready”. And “if there were some hiccups at the start, we have to accept these small difficulties. In such a gigantic organization, not everything can be perfect the first time, ”he said.

The AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines – which should be approved by the European Medicines Agency in mid-March – should, according to Elio Di Rupo, give “greater leeway to deconfinate”.

The federal government of Alexander De Croo is followed by the opposition. “We have to do things faster and more efficiently, it is clearly possible. We must switch to vaccination 7 days a week, do catch-up sessions, to immediately vaccinate people over 65 years old outside nursing homes, ”pleaded humanist Catherine Fonck on the public channel. RTBF.

The green Alain Maron proposes for his part to target invitations only according to age and to abandon the priority system for those under 65 with comorbidities. Because it is question that the vaccination could in the future take care primarily of the people suffering from comorbidity, identified and informed by the general practitioners. This point is debated because “non-ethical”, according to opponents of the measure.

These massive data processing have yet to be sealed in a cooperation agreement which will allow the different levels of power to exchange them. Except that, precise The evening, “This text was the subject of a vitriolic opinion both from the Council of State and from the Data Protection Authority. At issue: the opacity of this database and its illegality with regard to the European General Data Protection Regulation. ”

For the professor of ethics Philippe Boxho quoted by the daily, what is happening for the moment is “horror”. “We invoke extreme urgency to validate the system, but then that means that, in other situations, we can do exactly the same. This means that medical confidentiality is no longer protected. “


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