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AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 55 could be game-changer, says Health Minister

If the Conseil Supérieur de la Santé (CSS – Higher Council of Health) feels the COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca can be administered to people over the age of 55, that can be a real game-changer, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said on Sunday.

One of three treatments currently being used in Belgium to fight the virus, the AstraZeneca vaccine cannot be given to people over the age of 55 years, in keeping with a recommendation followed by many European countries.

Speaking on ‘De Zevende Dag’ TV programme, Vandenbroucke said this could change. “If we can administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to everyone, our vaccination campaign can be simpler and more direct,” he explained. “We have also asked the (Vaccination) Task Force how we can speed up the planning.”

Vandenbroucke said he had also asked the CSS whether it was possible to administer the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine after 42 days, instead of 21.

“If the CSS responds positively to both questions, I think we can reset our vaccination campaign, and that is necessary,” the Health Minister said. “We are facing a series of operational problems and we really need to resolve them.”

A third question has also been put to the Council: whether one injection can be enough, rather than two. “I think the answer will come with a great deal of hesitation,” the minister said. “It is perhaps too early.”

The Brussels Times

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