November 29, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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A third of children have been hit by the first coronavirus: they are already the favorites here (Antwerp)

A third of children have been hit by the first coronavirus: they are already the favorites here (Antwerp)

The province of Antwerp is one of the best students in the Flemish class when it comes to vaccinating children. © Belgium


More than a third of children aged 5 to 11 years in the province of Antwerp have been vaccinated or made an appointment. This is evident from a survey of Antwerp newspaper in different primary care areas. However, there are regional differences.

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About 135,000 children in the province of Antwerp between the ages of 5 and 11 are eligible for the coronavirus vaccination. Everyone received an invitation except for a very small minority. More than a third of children received their first injection. This is clear from the survey Antwerp newspaper in primary care districts (ELZs).

This makes the province of Antwerp one of the best students in the class in Flanders. Almost all children were invited there as well (99.3%), but the vaccination rate is still at 17% at the moment.

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“We’re now at about 40%, which means the vaccination campaign has gone smoothly,” says Sarah Verherstraeten of ELZ Baldemore (Balen-Dessel-Mol-Retie District). “Unlike vaccinations for adults and young people from 12 years of age, we do not suggest a date and time in advance, but parents can schedule the injection themselves: Wednesday afternoon or Saturday. The only obstacle is cancellation due to corona infection or imposed quarantine.”

They also note it in ELZ Klein-Brabant. “Some appointments are now being canceled due to infection and quarantine,” says Lynn Legon, who is in charge of the Klein Brabant vaccination centre. “These people indicate that they want to come later. As a result, everything changes now for a few weeks.”

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So it appears that the omikron variant is delaying the vaccination campaign for children. This was also confirmed by Joris Munins, a spokesperson for the Health and Welfare Agency. Across Flanders, there are approximately 32,000 appointments that have been passed. “But there may also be a lot of parents who are undecided and therefore want to wait a little bit longer,” he says. “We took into account anyway that the vaccination rate would be lower in that age group. We felt there were more doubts about that.”

Small bite at Antwerp Zoo.

Small bite at Antwerp Zoo. © Belgium

Vaccine blocks MIS-C

However, these doubts seem to be fading. That’s what Dan van Brusselen, a pediatrician at GZA Hospitals suffers from. “Obviously we have more doubts about our children than we do about ourselves,” van Brussellen says. “But I think we’ve also been able to remove a lot of them in the meantime. We feel that in practice. We’ve also learned a lot in the last few weeks. If children are vaccinated, overall virus transmission will go down. We already knew that, but now we know.” Also, MIS-C, the syndrome that can occur in children after infection with corona, can be prevented by vaccination. The chance of MIS-C is small, but when we see it it is often dangerous. This could be an additional motivation to vaccinate children anyway In addition, we saw in New York that children who receive the vaccine are up to 70% less likely to contract the virus. This percentage is even higher for hospitalization.”