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Belgian health council recommends second Covid booster for all
A second booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine should be offered to all Belgian residents aged over 18, Belgium's Superior Health Council has recommended.
A widespread campaign to encourage people to receive a fourth dose of the jab is expected to begin in September, subject to appoval by the interministerial health committee.
Until then, priority is given to people with underlying health conditions or who work in the healthcare sector.
Meanwhile, a sizeable number of people have yet to receive their first booster - 15% in Flanders, 33% in Wallonia and 51% in Brussels.
The roll-out of a second booster dose comes as the BA.5 variant of coronavirus becomes dominant in Belgium. It accounts for 66.5% of all new infections in the past week.
On average, 5,518 new coronavirus infections were recorded in Belgium over the past week - a 44% increase on the previous week. Hospital admissions are also up 17% in a week, at 119 per day.
With an infection rate of 1.11, the virus is gaining ground. Some 30% of coronavirus tests carried out in Belgium last week came back positive.
In other coronavirus news, the Brussels parliament has decided to reinstate the requirement to wear masks on parliament premises. The rule takes effect immediately and will remain in force for at least two weeks.