February 20, 2021
The Higher Health Council and the Vaccination Taskforce recommend double injection of the vaccine for better protection against variants
The Superior Health Council (CSS) and the Vaccination Task Force stick to two doses of the corona vaccine for better protection against variants. This position follows the advice of French health authorities last week to give only one dose to people already infected with COVID-19. France was the first country to make such a recommendation.
The French HAS (Haute Autorité de Santé) has argued that people recovered from COVID-19 developed immune memory during infection. A single dose of the vaccine would then suffice as a booster. The HAS recommends that this single vaccination be carried out at least three and preferably six months after recovery. This approach can save a large number of vaccines, which would be a major advantage with currently limited supplies.
The High Council of Health examined the relevance, potential benefits and feasibility of such an approach in our country and came to the conclusion that it is currently not appropriate to modify its recommendations. “In thelack of more precise knowledge about the nature of post-infectious immunity, it is best to be vaccinated as soon as possible (i.e. 14 days after symptoms disappear or at the end of quarantine), in order to broaden the immune spectrum. In this way, we build a better resistance to variants of the virus (currently known as the South African or Brazilian variants). “
The number of doses that we would save by the French approach does not outweigh the current uncertainty about the immunity of people already infected.
Based on these tips, the Task Force weighed the pros and cons of the French approach. She decided that the current vaccination schedule, with the administration of two vaccines, should be maintained. “The number of doses that we would save by the French approach does not outweigh the current uncertainty about the immunity of people who are already infected,” explains Professor Dirk Ramaekers, head of the working group on vaccination. “In order to guarantee a return to normal life as quickly as possible, offering optimal protection to the greatest number of inhabitants in Belgium remains our main objective.”