Additional flu vaccines on the way as demand soars exponentially – Health

Due to the current health situation, many more Belgians than usual want to be vaccinated against seasonal flu. The APB, the national federation of independent pharmacists, sees the number of applications for flu vaccines rising exponentially. She points out that there are 1 million more vaccines on the way, which will be delivered from the beginning of November and before mid-December, well before the peak of the flu season in February and enough to vaccinate the risk groups.

Given the long development time of a flu vaccine, the amount of vaccines for our country was already determined before the outbreak of the corona crisis. Nevertheless, the government has succeeded in bringing extra flu vaccines to Belgium, making a total of 2.96 million flu vaccines available this winter. Earlier this year, the Superior Health Council defined the priority groups to which priority is given to vaccination. This concerns patients at risk *.

Pharmacists notice that the demand this year is much higher than in recent years. “Normally we have to do our best to sensitize risk groups to get vaccinated against the flu. This year the demand is clearly much higher. Because many healthy people over 50 also want to be vaccinated this year, some pharmacies are now developing. waiting lists “, explains Lieven Zwaenepoel, chairman of the APB.

1 million extra vaccines

The Apothekersbond calls on the population to be patient and above all not to panic. Of the nearly 3 million vaccines, nearly 1 million will be delivered from early November and before mid-December, well in time for the peak of the influenza epidemic, which traditionally does not fall until January or February.

Flu milder this year

International research has shown that the flu epidemic in countries such as Argentina and Australia – where the flu season falls between June and August every year – peaked much less this year than in the past five years. An important reason for this is the measures against the corona virus, such as social distancing, mouth mask obligation and increased hygiene, and which also prove effective against the spread of the regular seasonal flu.

Priority to patients at risk and caregivers

Further research reports that the most effective protection against viruses consists of a combination of vaccination and measures such as those against the spread of covid-19. A vaccine against the coronavirus does not yet exist, but the number of influenza vaccines available in Belgium is already sufficient to protect our risk groups against seasonal flu this winter. “We ask that people from priority target groups be effectively given priority until November 15, well in time to allow vaccination for everyone in the appropriate time window, between October 15 and December 15. We call on healthy people to be patient and in the meantime, to strictly follow the measures announced against the spread of the coronavirus. It is important to show solidarity as a society and to protect our high-risk patients and the healthcare sector, “said Lieven Zwaenepoel.

Concrete recommendations regarding the flu vaccine

Do you not belong to a risk group *? Wait, give priority to risk groups. After November 15th, you can contact your doctor, who will then make a recommendation based on your health profile and the number of vaccines available.

Are you a healthy person over 50? Please contact your home pharmacist if you wish to be vaccinated and wait until he / she has your vaccine. Keep in mind that high-risk patients and care providers enjoy priority.

Are you a healthcare provider? Then be sure to get vaccinated! The healthcare sector can use any pair of hands and you also protect vulnerable patients. You can contact the medical service of your work, your doctor or, if you are over 50, directly with your pharmacist.

Are you a high-risk patient? Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a vaccine if you are over 50. A vaccine is safe and efficient! This way you get vital protection against seasonal flu and help reduce the workload in healthcare.

* The Superior Health Council recommends vaccination against seasonal flu for the following 3 target groups:

? Group 1: persons at risk of complications (pregnant women, chronically ill with age> 6 months, persons with age> 65 years, persons staying in an institution, children> 6 months under long-term aspirin therapy) = risk groups;

? Group 2: persons working in the health sector;

? Group 3: people living under the same roof as group 1 or children under 6 months.

In addition, it makes sense to vaccinate all people between 50 and 65 years old.

Given the long development time of a flu vaccine, the amount of vaccines for our country was already determined before the outbreak of the corona crisis. Nevertheless, the government has succeeded in bringing extra flu vaccines to Belgium, making a total of 2.96 million flu vaccines available this winter. Earlier this year, the Superior Health Council defined the priority groups to which priority is given to vaccination. This concerns patients at risk *. Pharmacists notice that the demand this year is much higher than in recent years. “Normally we have to do our best to sensitize risk groups to get vaccinated against the flu. This year the demand is clearly much higher. Because many healthy people over 50 also want to be vaccinated this year, some pharmacies are now developing. waiting lists “, explains Lieven Zwaenepoel, chairman of the APB. The Apothekersbond calls on the population to be patient and above all not to panic. Of the nearly 3 million vaccines, nearly 1 million will be delivered from early November and before mid-December, well in time for the peak of the flu epidemic, which traditionally does not fall until January or February. Further research reports that the most effective protection against viruses consists of a combination of vaccination and measures such as those against the spread of covid-19. A vaccine against the coronavirus does not yet exist, but the number of influenza vaccines available in Belgium is already sufficient to protect our risk groups against seasonal flu this winter. “We ask that people from priority target groups be effectively given priority until November 15, well in time to allow vaccination for everyone in the appropriate time window, between October 15 and December 15. We call on healthy people to be patient and in the meantime, to continue to strictly follow the measures announced against the spread of the coronavirus. It is important to show solidarity as a society and to protect our high-risk patients and the healthcare sector, “says Lieven Zwaenepoel. Do you not belong to a high-risk group *? Wait, give priority to risk groups. After November 15, you can contact your doctor, who will then make a recommendation based on your health profile and the number of vaccines available. Are you a healthy person over 50? Please contact your home pharmacist if you wish to be vaccinated and wait until he / she has your vaccine. Keep in mind that high-risk patients and care providers enjoy priority. Are you a care provider? Then be sure to get vaccinated! The healthcare sector can use any pair of hands and you also protect vulnerable patients. You can contact the medical service of your work, your general practitioner or, if you are older than 50, directly with your pharmacist. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a vaccine if you are over 50. A vaccine is safe and efficient! This way you get vital protection against seasonal flu and help reduce the workload in healthcare.

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