A logistical problem that arose last month meant that Belgium would obtain only half of the doses of vaccine it requested for January from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
A spokesman for the Health Ministry, Yves Van Laethem, reported that logistical issues in the second half of December prevented the supply of Covid vaccines as expected under the Belgian vaccination strategy without disclosing the cause. Van Laethem said, “Pfizer will only be able to supply half of the planned doses for January, so we go from 600,000 doses to slightly more than 300,000 doses.”
Belgium began vaccinating residents in nursing homes and the health workers there on Tuesday, after vaccinating nearly 700 individuals in nursing homes during a vaccine trial week. This vaccination phase will begin with the injection of two doses. Van Laethem said it was decided to continue a complete vaccination with two doses in the most fragile people since the disease hits them the hardest.
As with other countries in Europe, the situation in Germany is not so good. The German government is rolling out a Pfizer vaccine to counter COVID-19 but the media and some officials have criticized its slow start and for ordering insufficient doses. By Monday, around 266,000 people had been vaccinated.
Additionally, on Tuesday, Angela Merkel and the heads of the 16 German federal states agreed to extend a fast lockdown until the end of the month to maintain control over coronavirus infections.
The Germans are trying to control a second outbreak of the epidemic, as are other European countries. It is beginning to worry that hospitals are not able to cope.
According to sources participating in the negotiations, Merkel and the state legislature have mainly decided on the shops and restaurants’ closure until the end of January. But there is still a debate about whether schools can reopen and about new limits on communication. According to Bild, leaders discussed whether they should impose a 15-kilometre travel restriction outside of which people are not permitted to travel.
In November, Germany enforced a partial lockout. Still, in mid-December it was forced to close schools, shops and restaurants after the original measures failed to have the required effect.