Brussels elderly and vulnerable people ignore the fourth vaccine

Less than 3 percent of the over-85s in Brussels have already received a fourth shot. In Flanders this is the case for more than half (56 percent). “The Brussels government will have to make an extra effort,” says virologist Marc Van Ranst.

This week, health ministers called on everyone to take the third shot, if they haven’t already. People with lowered immunity are also asked to get the fourth shot.

The number of elderly people who took a fourth injection differs greatly between the regions. In Flanders, almost 17 percent of the population between 65 and 85 years has already received a fourth shot. In Brussels it is just under 4 percent.

The difference is even greater among the over-85s. There, the vaccination rate of a fourth shot in Brussels is less than 3 percent, while in Flanders it is more than half (56 percent). Wallonia scores comparable to Brussels.

Big differences

One of the explanations could be that Flanders started the vaccination campaign for the fourth shot earlier. In addition, according to virologist Marc Van Ranst, it illustrates the situation that existed at the beginning of the corona crisis. “At that time there were also large differences in the vaccination coverage between the regions. Brussels in particular had a very low vaccination coverage at the time.” That has been, in part, made up in retrospect.

The Brussels government then tried in various ways to persuade people to get vaccinated, including with the mobile vaccines and many vaccination points. “The Brussels government has done its very best and it has paid off. That will now have to happen again. We have to make it as simple and accessible as possible,” says Van Ranst.

Van Ranst emphasizes once again that it is important to get vaccinated. “We are tired of the virus, but the virus is not tired of us.” Since the corona figures are rising again, virologist Steven Van Gucht already advised the vulnerable population to take a booster shot.

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