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Van Damme about vaccine doubts: ‘We have put everything aside for …

Now that a vaccine against corona is getting very close, the question arises how many people want to vaccinate themselves. There is certainly skepticism, also acknowledges vaccineology professor Pierre Van Damme (UAntwerpen) in Terzake. “Not everyone is affected by the information that is already available about the vaccine.”

‘People are going to have to be convinced by good communication and an answer to their questions,’ noted Van Damme yesterday. ‘Many people ask questions via e-mail and social media. Those are also answered on the Agency’s website(Care and Health, ed.). But it is clear that many people do not get to that information. We have to provide as many answers as possible to as many questions as possible as quickly as possible. ‘

Van Damme emphasized that there are many good answers to people’s questions. It is not surprising, for example, that the development of the vaccine went so quickly: ‘We have never had more than 200 research institutions and companies in history looking for a vaccine at the same time. That is unique. ‘ Van Damme contradicts the fact that it is going too fast to be reliable: ‘No, all steps in the development of a vaccine have been followed. The only difference is that you can do it in parallel, or you can put everything aside. We have put everything aside in the agenda for the development of this vaccine. This way you save more than a year. We have prioritized all those steps that need to be taken. ‘

Van Damme reiterates that the European Medicines Agency must approve all vaccines before they come onto the market. ‘We have to keep telling people that. But we also have to inform GPs and pharmacists to provide correct answers to people’s questions. ‘

The professor is cautious about the start of the vaccinations in Belgium: ‘I understand we should be ready by 5 January. If there are vaccines, we should be able to start. They must first have the approval of the European Medicines Agency, and the vaccines are still being checked in Germany. ‘

So it could possibly be a little later than January 5th. “But most importantly, we have received the signal that we must be ready when the vaccine is available.”

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