Today (Tuesday 5 January) marks the official start of Belgium's coronavirus vaccination campaign. A pilot campaign was carried out between Christmas and the New Year to test logistics, in which 700 people were successfully vaccinated.
In the first phase of the campaign, vaccinations will be given to around 200 000 residents and staff in care homes. The vaccine to be used will be the Belgium-manufactured Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine authorised for use across the EU just before Christmas (link to EU authorisation site). Some 87 000 doses are due to be delivered per week and each recipient of the vaccine will get two doses, 21 days apart, as specified by the manufacturer and the regulatory authorities. The first phase will continue into mid-February.
Belgium plans to issue a certificate to everyone who is vaccinated against coronavirus that can be downloaded from the official website MaSante.belgique.be.
The Red Cross has opened a coronavirus testing centre at Brussels-Midi station, for rail passengers returning from a red zone. It is capable of carrying out 750 tests per day.
Brussels' seven other coronavirus test centres are now keeping the same opening hours at weekends as during the week, to handle increased demand from returning travellers. The centres can be found on Boulevard Pachéco (centre), Albert (Forest), Mérode (Etterbeek), Heysel (Laeken), Molenbeek, Schaerbeek and Anderlecht, with a total weekly testing capacity of 70 000. To book a test go to: https://brussels.testcovid.be/.
The Belgian government will be financing increased genomic analysis of Covid-19 samples to better understand the prevalence of the various strains of the virus in the country. From mid-January a couple of dozen Belgian laboratories will work on sequencing the Sars-Cov-2 genome working on analysis of some 1 000 positive samples - a quadrupling of the number analysed to approximately 2% of all samples.
An analysis of samples from blood donors by the Red Cross and Sciensano suggests that 14.4% of the Belgian population currently possess antibodies against coronavirus.