Luxembourg’s vaccination campaign is focused on distributing boosters, as people seeking their first doses have slowed to a trickle in the country with one of the lowest rates in Western Europe.
Luxembourg distributed 4,070 third doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to medically vulnerable people and people over the age of 75 last week, the health ministry said on Wednesday. The jabs were intended to boost waning immunity to Covid-19 after the initial doses months ago.
Early vaccinations, on the other hand, slowed to just 1,877 in the week ending Sunday – the fourth consecutive week of declining numbers – the health ministry said. At the height of the campaign, Luxembourg distributed more than 6,000 shots per day.
Almost two-thirds of Luxembourg’s 630,000 residents are fully vaccinated, according to the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data website. Because vaccines have not yet been proven safe for children under 12, they do not receive vaccines. This means that 74% of the population eligible for a vaccine is fully protected, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.
The results show that the Grand Duchy is still far from the threshold of collective immunity – when the virus will slowly subside as it catches fewer people without protection from vaccination or a previous infection.
Some countries like the UK and Denmark have started to drop all restrictions linked to the pandemic after vaccinating a large proportion of their population.
The Luxembourg government may reintroduce restrictions or impose vaccination warrants if the number of serious infections increases significantly, government adviser Thomas Dentzer told Télécran magazine, which is owned by the same publisher as the Luxembourg hours.
But if Luxembourg hits 80-85% of its entire population, the government should consider removing any remaining restrictions, Dentzer added.
As Luxembourg struggled to convince more people to get vaccinated, new infections and hospitalizations remained stable last week, the health ministry also said on Wednesday. Among those who had to be hospitalized, 82% were not or not fully vaccinated, including three quarters of patients in intensive care, said the Ministry of Health.
On Wednesday, 161 people tested positive for the coronavirus while authorities also reported one new death from Covid. Analysis of the sewage showed a “significant increase” in the virus, the health ministry also said.