Influenza vaccine: priority for at-risk groups extended

date: 03/12/2020

Priority for category A has been extended, but vaccines already distributed to category B can be administered.

Availability of seasonal influenza vaccines and priority for at-risk groups

Belgium has 2.9 million vaccines for the 2020-2021 seasonal influenza, that is more than previous years. 

For this flu season 2020-2021, the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Public Health has favored a sequential approach to vaccination, with top priority for category A. 

The target groups were identified by the Superior Health Council (SHC). Category A consists of people at risk of complications such as people in institutional care, people with a chronic lung disease or immune disorders, people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and health sector personnel.

Priority for category A has been extended, but vaccines already distributed to category B can be administered

A survey among all pharmacies, wholesaler-distributors and pharmaceutical companies shows there are sufficient flu vaccines available to meet the needs of priority target groups (category A). However, all vaccines that have not yet been delivered will be required to meet the needs of this priority target group.

Therefore, it has been decided to maintain the absolute priority given to at-risk groups.

In the second half of December 2020, the vaccination level of these priority groups (category A) will be reassessed.

At that moment, the availability of vaccines will be assessed for the vaccination of people in category B. Category B consists of people aged between 50 and 65 years old who do not suffer from a chronic disease, who do not work in the health sector and who do not live under the same roof as a chronically ill person or as people aged 65 and over.

Until the reassessment takes place, pharmacists shall not distribute vaccines to people in category B. However, vaccines that have already been issued to people in category B may be administered by doctors.

These measures take effect immediately.

The FAMHP has informed the professional groups about these practical implications.

The authorities recall that healthy people are less likely to get seriously ill from the flu. Moreover, all the precautionary measures currently in place to fight the COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably reduce the spread of flu.

More information

Report 9581 - Seasonal influenza - Winter season 2020-2021 (Superior Health Council, SHC)


The target groups identified by the SHC in the report on vaccination against 2020-2021 seasonal influenza are the following:

Category A

-Group 1: people at risk of complications

  • all pregnant women regardless of the stage of pregnancy
  • any patient from the age of 6 months with an underlying chronic condition, even if stabilised, of pulmonary (including severe asthma), cardiac (excluding hypertension), hepatic, renal, metabolic (including diabetes), BMI > 35, neuromuscular or immune disorders (natural or induced origin).
  • any person aged 65 and over
  • people in institutional care
  • children between the ages of 6 months and 18 years inclusive undergoing long-term aspirin therapy

-Group 2: health sector personnel

-Group 3: people living under the same roof as

  • at-risk people from group 1
  • children under 6 months of age

Category B

  • people aged between 50 and 65 years old
Last updated on 09/12/2020