AP

Belgium OKs 4th vaccine shot for immunocompromised people

Jan 24, 2022, 7:30 AM | Updated: 1:09 pm

A man sits on the pavement as police confront protestors during a demonstration against COVID-19 me...

A man sits on the pavement as police confront protestors during a demonstration against COVID-19 measures in Brussels, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. Demonstrators gathered in the Belgian capital to protest what they regard as overly extreme measures by the government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including a vaccine pass regulating access to certain places and activities and possible compulsory vaccines. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

(AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium’s health ministers have approved a recommendation to use a fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine to better protect people with a weakened immune system against the virus.

Christie Morreale, the minister for public health in the federal government, said Monday that she and her regional counterparts have greenlighted the proposal made by the country’s health council. Morreale did not give a date for the start of the program.

About 77% of Belgium’s nearly 11.5 million people are now fully vaccinated, and some 6.3 million Belgians have received a booster dose, according to the latest figures from health authorities.

Belgium had 2,851 COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Monday, including 364 in intensive care units. At least 28,800 people have died from COVID-19 in Belgium since the start of the pandemic.

On Sunday, police fired water cannons and thick clouds of tear gas in Brussels, the capital, to disperse people protesting COVID-19 vaccinations and government restrictions that aim to curb the fast-spreading omicron variant.

Police said the protest drew an estimated 50,000 people, some traveling from France, Germany and other countries to take part. Protesters yelled “Liberty!” as they marched and some had violent confrontations with police. Video showed black-clad protesters attacking a building used by the European Union’s diplomatic service, hurling projectiles at its entrance and smashing windows.

Brussels police said 228 people had been detained Sunday for disturbing public order. In addition, 11 people were arrested on charges of possession of a weapon, rebellion against the law enforcement and damage. Three officers and 12 demonstrators required hospital treatment.

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Belgium OKs 4th vaccine shot for immunocompromised people