- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Covid vaccination centres open in Wallonia and flu jabs begin
Even if today’s health situation is not comparable to what it was two years ago, Belgium has not seen the last of the Covid-19 virus – which is circulating more as the weather gets colder.
Covid-19 deaths in absolute terms are low compared to levels reported earlier in the pandemic. But according to recent EU figures, four out of 12 European Economic Area countries with age-specific death data have reported small increases in mortality for the over-65s.
With Belgian health authorities advising for prudence, particularly to populations seen as "at risk", Wallonia started its drive against the Covid-19 virus this week.
Five centres are now open for vaccinations in Charleroi, Verviers, Liège, Tournai and Braine-l’Alleud. Four smaller sites are planned soon, including two in Hainaut: in Mouscron and Ecaussines.
Centres will be open until 10 November, giving people the possibility to be vaccinated with or without an appointment. From mid-September, citizens in Wallonia and Brussels could already get Covid-19 boosters from their doctors or pharmacists.
People in Wallonia wanting appointments are asked to ring (in office hours) 071 31 34 93, with all the information needed available at www.jemevaccine.be.
“If you are 65 and over, if you are fragile, if you have underlying health conditions, if you take special medication, you can go to a vaccination centre, to your chemist or, as a rule, to your general doctor to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and against the flu,” Wallonia’s health minister Christie Morreale said.
In Brussels, the Covid-19 vaccine is available from participating pharmacies, GPs and maisons médicales. An interactive map can be found at coronavirus.brussels.
Indeed, Belgium is also encouraging more vulnerable people to get the flu vaccine as winter approaches. This can now be done for the first time in pharmacies as well as by your doctor.
The focus is on vaccinating people more risk of becoming severely ill after catching the flu and/or Covid-19. This includes residents with weakened immune systems and underlying health conditions irrespective of age and pregnant women.
“This is good news in terms of increasing vaccine cover,” Arnaud Lambert, one pharmacist from La Bruyère, Namur province, told RTBF.
“We really want to target people who are not used to getting vaccinated. We are also thinking of people who do not have a doctor, or just those who do not have access to regular health care.”
The flu vaccination campaign has already started in hospitals throughout Belgium, particularly for staff in direct contact with people most at risk.
For Christelle Vastrade, head of the nursing department at Godinne University Hospital, getting vaccinated is very important, even though every year people still refuse to do so.
“But it is through discussing with these people and making them aware of the risks, that we can get them to change their minds and get vaccinated. It is daily work during the vaccination period.”
Vastrade, a hygienist by training and specialised in the spread of epidemics in hospitals, said that at CHU Godinne, four out of five caregivers on average are vaccinated against flu.