Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Tuesday, during a visit to Brussels Airport, that Belgium will receive its first doses of Covid-19 vaccine before the end of this year, confirming previous reports that the first doses would be delivered by late December.
1. Special access
The Monday previous to this, De Croo stated that target groups would receive priority access to the vaccine and that to begin with there will not be enough doses to immediately vaccinate the general population.
Cargo companies & staff at #brusselsairport are ready to store, handle and ship all types of COVID-19 vaccines, whether using dry ice or other cold-chain solutions 🧊 Our smooth transportation flows guarantee flawless shipping to all four corners of the world 🗺️ #BRUcure #cargo pic.twitter.com/0aO8lfmW1g— Brussels Airport (@BrusselsAirport) November 18, 2020
2. Distribution at Brussels Airport
Brussels Airport has said it is preparing to receive and distribute the vaccines in Belgium, and potentially also Europe. The airport has the necessary extensive experience and infrastructure to handle pharmaceutical products, and will is using this to receive, store and transport the Covid-19 vaccine batches. The airport also has the largest area of temperature-controlled storage areas in Europe at total of 30,000 square-metres, and technology which enables real-time temperature tracking throughout the whole transportation process.
3. Which vaccine?
It is not confirmed which vaccine will be arriving in Belgium first, as there are currently three companies (AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech) who have announced vaccine candidates which show promising results with efficacy rates of between 70 and 90%. Belgium’s own drugs agency authority stated that its Advisory Committee on vaccine procurement has so far given the green light to Janssen Pharmaceutica and AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidates.
The vaccines still need to get market approval from the EU’s top drug agency, the EMA, or Belgium would withdraw its previous approval. On Monday the EMA stated that an ongoing review of at least the three most advanced vaccine candidates could be completed by early 2021 which would help enable market authorisation within months.