The vaccination campaign for the second booster has started impressively quickly in Flanders. More than half of the over-65s have already received their second booster. Brussels and Wallonia are significantly behind. Sciensano makes it clear that this can lead to an increased risk for patients at risk who do not want a new injection
19 percent of the Flemings over the age of 18, or 54 percent of the over-65s, already went for a second booster. A significant difference with the 4 percent in Brussels (15 percent of the 65+) and the 8 percent in Wallonia (23 percent of the 65+). However, Flanders started the campaign with a very small lead of around and because we were already pricking this summer, although that does not explain the big difference, according to Sciensano.
“The turnout and speed in Flanders can be called downright impressive,” says virologist Steven Van Gucht. “The differences will probably become a little smaller: in the previous campaigns, things started more slowly in Wallonia and Brussels. But it will probably never be exactly the same. We know from previous vaccination and booster campaigns that the willingness in Brussels and Wallonia is a lot lower anyway. Either way, there will still be a significant difference.”
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“For the expected autumn wave, I see no problem in these differences between Flanders and Brussen and/or Wallonia. It is not the case that a Brussels or Walloon corona wave will suddenly engulf Flanders. My concern is rather with the inhabitants of Brussels and Walloons who do not allow themselves to be vaccinated. They are at a higher risk. We know from research that people over 65 who did not opt for the third shot are no less than five times more likely to end up in hospital after being infected with the corona virus.”
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That expected autumn wave may have already started if we look at the latest figures. “The reproduction number is now above 1, so the virus is gaining momentum,” Sciensano said. “Between September 13 and 19, an average of 1,947 people tested positive daily, an increase of 17 percent on a weekly basis. From 16 to 22 September, 58 new corona patients were admitted to Belgian hospitals every day. Compared to the seven days before, this is an increase of 4 percent. The positivity ratio for Belgium rose slightly to 19.6 percent. During that same period, an average of 3.7 people succumbed to SARS-CoV2 every day, a decrease of 42 percent compared to the previous week. In total, more than 32,600 corona deaths have been reported in our country since the start of the corona pandemic.
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