Belgium: decision to provide booster Shot for teenagers delayed again

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The Belgian government postponed offering a booster vaccination dose to teenagers aged 12 to 17 in Belgium. The country’s Health Minister, Maggie Celine Louise De Block, requested additional legal advice on Wednesday, February 2.

Wouter Beke, Spokesperson for Flemish Health Minister, informed The Brussels Times that an opinion had been requested regarding the ‘informed consent’ procedure.

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The informed consent procedure (a form) was already used to voluntarily offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to under-41s last summer.

By understanding the risk of Covid-19, both teenagers and their parents will have to sign a form to indicate that they are willing to receive the booster dose.

Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke asserted that earlier, the request was also made to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on deciding to offer teenagers a booster dose.

This system would also serve as a reasonable basis for teenagers for the Vaccination Taskforce. Still, the other legal opinion from the Patients’ Rights Committee should provide a firmer legal basis on this first.

The lack of decision could cause some troubles for holidays during the Carnival break at the end of February.

Currently, a booster dose is already required by several popular destinations despite the absence of an official recommendation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

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In practice, countries like Italy and Austria have tightened their rules and stated that a person’s last vaccine dose could not be older than six months to access bars or restaurants.

However, many teenagers in Belgium were vaccinated during the summer, meaning their certificates will no longer be valid.

Initially, Belgium’s health ministers awaited the official EMA recommendation before making a decision, but it could take until the end of February before its official advice is issued, and it may be limited to 16- and 17-year-olds.

Meanwhile, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, the US and Israel have already decided to administer boosters to this age group.

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