AstraZeneca would now be recommended for people over 55
The decision not to give the AstraZeneca vaccine to older people was made a few weeks ago because, at the time, there was not enough data on the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Lhe Superior Council of Health (CSS) would advise the various ministers of health to still use the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 55 years old. This would emerge from the opinion of the CSS, which VTM News reported on Tuesday afternoon. The SHC would also advise ministers to allow more time between the first and second dose. However, according to the recommendations consulted by VTM, it is not wise to omit the second dose.
The decision not to give the AstraZeneca vaccine to the elderly was made a few weeks ago because, at the time, there was not enough data on the effectiveness of the vaccine. Meanwhile, results from vaccination campaigns in the UK and Israel have shown that the vaccine works great for older people too.
The SHC would also recommend that ministers allow a longer period between the two injections of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Currently, the intervals are three and four weeks respectively, according to the information brochure. However, results from other countries show that a longer interval, such as six weeks, is perfectly achievable. More specifically, Belgium would increase the withdrawal period for the Pfizer vaccine from 21 to 35 days.
This would mean that there would be more or much less inventory to maintain. Until now, a second dose of each Pfizer vaccine has been withheld to ensure a second injection within three weeks, even if there is a supply problem. This will no longer be necessary, or much less, so that more people will receive their first injection in the coming weeks.
AstraZeneca vaccine was not in storage because there is a three month interval between each injection.
The opinion of the Superior Health Council will now be given to the Ministers of Health, who will meet on this subject Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. This opinion will still have to be approved. Once this has been done, the Vaccination Task Force can redefine the campaign. On Sunday, Federal Minister of Public Health Frank Vandenbroucke called the fact that the AstraZeneca vaccine can be administered to older people a “gamechanger”.