This special program highlighted various questions formulated in the population about the vaccines that will soon be administered in Belgium, primarily for residents and staff of nursing homes.
“There are possible side effects,” admitted vaccinologist Pierre Van Damme. “Muscle stiffness, pain at the site of the injection, a little fever in 10% of cases … but this is the case with all vaccines,” he added. “The side effects are very limited and go away quickly, but we are watching this closely. In the study groups were people with diabetes and kidney or liver failure. Few side effects were seen and the vaccine worked well.
Caution is still required, however, in pregnant women and people with severe allergic reactions to vaccines or certain medications, Van Damme added. “People to whom we do not administer the vaccine will be protected by collective immunity if we reach a vaccination rate of 70%,” he said. The vaccinologist further stated that in principle a vaccine works well 10-14 days after administration. However, the question of whether the vaccine prevents transmission of the virus is still under investigation. This is one of the reasons why it was decided to vaccinate at-risk groups first and not people with many contacts, such as young people.
Based on current knowledge, a vaccine probably offers protection for at least a year, but this aspect will also need to be observed more closely. People who have been vaccinated should therefore continue to follow the same measures as others for a period of time, until a large enough group is vaccinated. In principle, people will be contacted when they are part of a group affected by the vaccination.
Some viewers also wondered about the possible quality differences between the different vaccines and the number of doses ordered by Europe. “These discussions were separate,” explained Xavier De Cuyper, general administrator of the FAMHP (Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products). “The quantities ordered correspond to what the companies can deliver. According to De Cuyper, the negotiations proceeded like “classic trade negotiations”, but Europe has set security conditions for producers. “As a citizen, you will not be able to choose which vaccine you will receive – if you agree to be vaccinated – but you will know which vaccine you will be given”.