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Belgium to get half the Pfizer vaccine doses it ordered for January

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Lucie Vandamme, 88, at Prince Royal home care, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Brussels, Belgium January 5, 2021. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium will receive only half the doses of U.S. drugmaker Pfizer vaccine it ordered for January because of a logistical difficulty that occurred last month.

Health Ministry spokesman Yves Van Laethem said a logistical issue in the second half of December prevented the delivery of the vaccines as planned in the Belgian vaccination strategy, without detailing the problem.

“The company Pfizer, which supplies us, will only be able to supply half of the planned doses for the month of January and so we go from 600,000 doses to a little over 300,000 doses,” Van Laethem told a news conference.

After vaccinating about 700 people in four nursing homes during a test week of vaccination, Belgium started on Tuesday to vaccinate residents in nursing homes nationwide along with the health staff there.

The country of 11 million people has suffered one of Europe’s highest death rates per capita from the pandemic, with 60% of fatalities occurring in nursing homes.

This first phase of vaccination will continue as planned with two doses being injected. “It was decided to continue a complete vaccination with two doses in the most fragile people, struck more heavily by the disease,” Van Laethem said.

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine

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