Influenza vaccine: vaccination of at-risk groups completed, vaccine can be delivered to people of low-risk groups

date: 15/01/2021

Based on data collected from pharmacists by the FAMHP, it appears that all category A patients who requested an influenza vaccine, have received their vaccine. The limited remaining stock of influenza vaccines can be distributed to the rest of the population, preferably to people over 50 years old or people working in vital sectors. Influenza vaccination remains appropriate until the flu peak has been reached, which has currently not happened yet.

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.

Most vulnerable people protected
Based on the evaluation of the vaccination coverage of the priority risk target group category A and based on a survey of pharmacists, it appears that all category A patients who requested it received their influenza vaccine.

Limited remaining stock can be delivered 
Many pharmacies still have a limited stock of flu vaccines left. These vaccines can be distributed without restriction, with preference given to category B patients (people between 50 and 65 years of age) and people in vital sectors.

Influenza peak not yet reached
As indicated by the Superior Health Council, it is still advisable to be vaccinated as long as the influenza peak has not been reached. After this peak, vaccination can be considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the general practitioner. Influenza vaccination offers protection within a period of 10 to 15 days following the injection.

Influenza and COVID-19 vaccination
The COVID Vaccination Task Force recommends 14 days between a flu vaccination and a COVID-19 vaccination.

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 18/01/2021