Health

“We can start vaccinating young people by summer”

The European vaccination campaign officially started on Sunday. Belgium takes the first injection on Monday morning. Young people will have their turn when the summer vacation starts, it sounds.

The first vaccines have already been introduced on Sunday in a number of European countries. Austria, Greece and France, among others, have already started. Germany, Hungary and Slovakia have already started a day earlier. In our country, the vaccines will be distributed on Sunday and the starting shot will be given on Monday at 11 am.

The first Fleming to receive a vaccine is 96-year-old Jos Hermans in the Sint-Pieter residential care center in Puurs. Then it is the turn of the rest of the residents, the following days the residents of other residential care centers.

Order can change

When that is over, at the end of January, it will be up to the healthcare staff. The campaign for high-risk patients and the over-65s will start in May. And if all goes well, it will be the turn of young people at the start of the summer vacation. That’s what epidemiologist Pierre Van Damme, who is part of the vaccine taskforce, says on Radio 1 on Sunday. “We would of course like to have everyone vaccinated by the summer, but that seems impossible. The vaccination for young people may now start sometime during the summer holidays, but we want to do everything we can to bring that forward. If the delivery and availability of vaccines progresses well, we can also use vaccination centers that are available for young people. ”

Incidentally, the order can still change if it appears that certain groups should be given priority. A working group meets every week to review the strategy. “This includes essential professions that are severely affected by a mandatory closure.” Saturday, a study by Het Laatste Nieuws showed that hairdressers are more easily infected than other professions.

Criticism

If we want to start vaccinating young people by the summer, it would mean that by then just under half of the population will have been injected. That is a strong ambition, but Israel is even more ambitious. The Asian country wants to vaccinate 25 percent of its population in one month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Saturday. In comparison, the US vaccinated 0.3 percent of its population, or 1 million people, in two weeks.

In recent days there has been increasing criticism of vaccine policy in Europe. The continent is said to have responded too slowly and bought too few doses. For example, according to sources from the German newspaper Der Spiegel, the EU received an offer from vaccine maker BioNTech to purchase 500 million doses instead of the current 200 million order with an option for an additional 100 million. But due to opposition from France, which has its own vaccine company with Sanofi, the union would have turned down that offer.

On Monday, the European Commission temporarily approved the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, on January 6, the authorities will consider the Moderna vaccine. Timing is not yet known for the other vaccine candidates, including Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

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