Vaccination in Belgium will start at the beginning of January: 600,000 doses will be available. This vaccine is known to be about 95% effective. Are there any contraindications for a more vulnerable audience? Several questions remain unanswered.
It’s about to be licensed, but what do we really know about this vaccine that will hit the market early next year? First of all, two doses are required 28 days apart. For example, if the first injection was done on January 3, you should wait for the second on the 31st of the same month. Tested on 43,500 people since the end of July, the results of clinical trials are very encouraging. The vaccine is 95% effective. Alain Fischer professor of immunology says: “This is very good news, especially since no significant side effects have been reported within two to three months after vaccination.”
Good efficacy in the elderly
No or few side effects, headache and fever have been reported. But questions remain. The elderly will be the first to benefit. Is this vaccine suitable for this section of the population? The data provided by the laboratories seem to confirm this. Charlotte Martin is a specialist in infectious diseases at CHU Saint-Pierre. It develops: “Good efficacy in the elderly and not many side effects. It appears to be a very suitable vaccine for our main target group of people over 65.”
But some experts are waiting for details. Because among the tens of thousands of volunteers who participated in clinical trials, there are no immunocompromised people or people with kidney failure. Could the vaccine have contraindications? Jean-Michel Dogné, expert with the WHO Global Vaccine Safety Committee: “Kidney failure or hepatitis will be major problems. They are excluded from clinical studies and we know that in nursing homes this represents a significant population, especially those with renal failure. “ Discussions have yet to take place as to whether these people will be contraindicated.
The European Medicines Agency will have to analyze the benefit of the vaccine and weigh it against the risk it could generate. The health authorities are calling for dialogue with the elderly. Yvon Englert is Covid 19 Commissioner for Wallonia: “Most people in institutions have families with whom they argue and often have a very special relationship with their treating physician. It is in these discussions that they express whether or not they want to be vaccinated.”
The vaccine is not compulsory. 600,000 doses will be available in Belgium at the beginning of January, but it will have to wait for the green light from the European Medicines Agency on December 29 before the priority population can be vaccinated.
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