Vaccination strategy phase 1b: Moderna vaccine to roll-out in hospitals across Province de Liège

The Ministère de la Santé Publique has announced that as of Monday 18 January, hospitals in Belgium will start to administer the first doses of the Moderna vaccine. It is expected that at least one hospital per region will start the vaccination process.

Ministre Régionale de la Santé, Christie Morreale, confirmed that across Wallonia, the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Tivoli - CHU Tivoli (Tivoli University Hospital) in Hainaut, the Centre Hospitalier Bois de l'Abbaye- CHBA (hospital centre Bois de l'Abbaye) in Liège and the Clinique André Renard also in Liège will start vaccination with Moderna, with other hospitals eventually following.

The next steps of the stratégie de vaccination deployed by the Belgium governement are expected in mid-March. After having vaccinated residents and workers of nursing homes, hospital staff and front-line care staff, Wallonia will begin vaccinations for 65+, over 45 at risk and workers performing essential functions.

In order to proceed, 54 vaccination centers are planned to be set up in Wallonia. Centres which will also be used for vaccination of the general public, which is scheduled from May should run throughout the summer, as indicated by Walloon Ministre-Président Elio Di. Rupo. According to Di Rupo this program should make it possible to vaccinate 78% of the Belgian population by the end of summer.

As announced by la Conférence Interministérielle Santé publique et du Commissariat Corona au Gouvernement the deployment of the Belgian Covid-19 immunisation strategy has been discussed in depth and a number of improvements have been made based on the most recent information. For example, a system is being put in place so that information on unused vaccines can be communicated very quickly to the regional authorities in order for it to be used immediately for other groups.

It has been agreed that after vaccination of residents and nursing home staff, health care workers who are at increased risk of VIDC-19 infection should be vaccinated first. This mainly concerns doctors and nursing staff in intensive care units, emergency departments and Covid-19 services (e.g. geriatrics and lung diseases). Trainees are also included in this group. As a result, these groups will have the opportunity to be vaccinated earlier than planned.

Hub hospitaliers staff will be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine. Staff in other acute hospitals will be vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNtech or Moderna vaccine.

In addition, the team at International Classification of Diseases – ICD has noted that the number of tests is increasing again, which is a good thing. More tests will allow us to obtain better information about the risks more quickly and we will be able to prevent the spread of the virus.

Variants of the Covid-19 virus in other countries, such as the UK, remain a concern. In Antwerp, a pilot project has been launched in collaboration with the University of Antwerp, which will allow these variants to be detected more quickly. This concerns people for whom the analysis of the test has shown that they have a high viral level and are lacking the S gene, which is a possible signal for the B117 variant. In the coming days, this project will also start in Brussels. If the pilot project produces good results, it can then be rolled out in other parts of the country.

In the meantime the federated entities are fully committed to the efficient and effective implementation of quarantine and isolation, in full cooperation with the local authorities.

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