This Sunday two Flemish vaccinologists said that to achieve collective immunity, Belgium should reach 85 to 90% of the vaccinated population instead of the 70% target set by the authorities. Spokesman Yves Van Laethem gave an update on this issue.
To achieve collective immunity, it would be necessary to achieve a vaccination rate against the coronavirus of 85 to 90% of the population, declared Corinne Vandermeulen and Pierre Van Damme, two Flemish infectious disease specialists this weekend. A figure which could surprise because since the beginning of the crisis one speaks about a rate of 70%.
Yves Van Laethem provided details during the press conference of the crisis center.
“There isn’t a magic number that allows you to be perfect. At the start with the Wuhan strain, it was established that at least 70% of people vaccinated were needed to have good group protection. And this “at least 70%” clearly says what it means: we must not fix ourselves on a number, we must go as high as possible ”specifies the spokesperson from the outset.
“Vaccination is not a punishment. We don’t do it because we have to. We did it to protect ourselves and others. It must be a dynamic which must not be aimed at one number. “
The appearance of variants, with their greater contagiousness, has reshuffled the cards of the figures announced.
“Since the variants appeared, we realize that to achieve the ideal group protection, it would be necessary to rise to around 80% to 90%. This does not surprise us compared to other diseases such as measles for which 95% coverage is needed. ”
Possible to achieve?
So yes, these variants have changed the game but that does not mean that it is impossible to achieve.
“These high numbers are already practically achieved in the subgroups of the population. In people over 65, more than 90% received a first dose. We are at 80% for people with comorbidities. So we do not yet know if we will reach this figure for the entire Belgian population. But we simply have to strive for it in order to help those who have refused the vaccination or those who have received the vaccine but in whom it will have “less well” (Editor’s note: because their immune system is less good) but also to decrease the vaccine. ‘appearance of variants. “
“Because the less viral circulation there is, the less potential there will be for the virus to multiply and generate variants. This is not unique to Belgium but it is a global point. The distribution of the vaccine in the world is important and it is far from being a given everywhere. So in Belgium, let’s try to go as high as possible and help other countries reach reasonable vaccination figures. ”