On Monday 28 December, the residents of three Belgian care homes were given the first COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines had been delivered the previous weekendn and had been safely stored and thawed at UZ Leuven, and were then released for administration. It was the symbolic start of the vaccination campaign in our country, which will be properly rolled out in the week of 5 January.
The start went smoothely and was assessed positively. Which is why the national vaccination taskforce decided to release some 400 of the remaining vaccines stored at UZ Leuven to four care homes in the area of the university hospital. The care homes involved are ’T Spelthof in Binkom, De Wyngaert in Rotselaar, Edouard Remy in Leuven and Onze-Lieve-Vrouw in Wezembeek-Oppem. All four already work closely together with UZ Leuven. Just as with the first pilot vaccination the number of care homes was purposely kept to a minimum.
Test in timing
During the vaccination campaign that is due to start on 5 January, UZ Leuven will be only be distributing vaccines regionally as the designated hub hospital for East-Flemish-Brabant. This second test wil enable the hopsital to reinforce that role. The exact timing of the procedures and the logistic execution as it will be used soon, can be tested now and modified where necessary to optimise the planning. This was not yet possible during the national vaccination pilot of last weekend.
Right after the national vaccination taskforce's decision yesterday, the thawing procedure was initiated in the UZ Leuven hospital pharmacy. Just like last Monday, the thawed vaccines left this morning to the care homes. The vaccins will be administered to the residents who have given their consent under the supervision of the Coordinating and Advisory Physician.
UZ Leuven is very pleased to participate in the second vaccination pilot and to get the chance to test and assess all procedures together with the logo-regional partners, in preparation for the actual start of the vaccination campaign next week.