Luxembourg’s vaccination rollout programme may be slower than anticipated, but it’s still good to know what it is, how you will get your vacccination, and where the current vaccination centres can be found.
The government announced that about 71,000 people would be vaccinated by the end March and more recently, said it would speed up first dosage rollout which has a 76% success rate of protecting against the virus.
It currently has approved and uses three Covid-19 vaccines – Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, all of which require a second dose. Approval of the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the European Medicines Agency is expected on 11 March.
How will I know when to get vaccinated?
Invitations work much the same way as large scale testing. You will receive an invitation by post with a personalised code, which has a limited validity. You must make your appointment online at one of the four testing centres at www.covidvaccination.lu
If you cannot access the online booking platform, you can contact the Santé helpline on 247 65533 from Monday to Sunday 08.00 to 19.00.
The Covid-19 vaccination is not compulsory and cannot be made mandatory by an employer.
How does the vaccine work?
You will have some immunity to Covid-19 two weeks after your first dose and better immunity from two weeks after your second dose. It is still not clear how long immunity will last (ie whether there is a need for regular vaccination).
According to the government website, it is still possible to get infected after you are vaccinated but it suggests that your symptoms will be greatly reduced.
If you’ve already had Covid-19, you are not necessarily immune, as there have been cases of people being re-infected, so it is still recommended that you have a vaccine for better immunity.
Side effects from the vaccine include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and redness/soreness around the injection area, which indicate that your immune system is responding.
Where are the vaccination centres?
A mobile vaccination centre is used in hospitals and elderly care homes, but all other people must go to one of the testing centres below:
Site Centre – Victor Hugo hall in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg
Site South - Esch-sur-Alzette - 30, Avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux
Site East - Mondorf-les-Bains - Scout centre Badboeschelchen
Site North - Ettelbruck - Sports Hall CHNP
The opening hours for all centres are Monday 13.00 to 19.00, Tuesday to Friday 07.00 to 19.00 and Saturday 07.00 to 13.00.
If you think you might not be able to travel to a testing centre, some communes are providing a form of transport (shuttle bus or taxi) that can take people to the centres. You should check your commune website. Services are currently being offered for elderly people in Bettembourg, Diekirch, Dudelange, Esch-sur-Alzette, and Mamer.
What do I need to take and how will I be vaccinated?
You should take your appointment confirmation, ID and your CNS card (if you have one). You will be consulted by an on-site doctor who will decide which vaccine is best for you. It is administered as an injection to the arm. You will be asked to wait 15 minutes after the vaccine to ensure you are well enough to travel home.
During your first appointment you will receive a vaccination certificate and confirmation of your appointment for a second dose.
You do not need to take a Covid test before you attend your vaccination appointment.
When will I get my vaccination?
The all important question for many who want one, is down to which phase you are in.
The phases are outlined below are based on vulnerability by age or health condition. Cancer patients monitored by oncology departments will be invited by the hospital they attend for treatment, whilst other vulnerable people will be registered from 1 March by their doctor or medical specialist.
The phased approach is designed to vaccinate those most at risk of death from Covid, at a rate in keeping with the capacity of the healthcare system in Luxembourg, according to the government website.
There are no dates given on the government website for when each phase will take place. Currently the vaccination campaign is in phase 2.
The health conditions outlined below do not include every potential condition. You can get exact details which health conditions will be vaccinated in which phase on the government website here.
Phase 1 – healthcare professionals , those living or working in residential care facilities for the elderly or disabled (including hospitals).
Phase 2a/b – people aged over 75 years and vulnerable people with certain pre-existing conditions including organ transplants, congenital immune deficiencies, trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome), cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy.
Phase 3a/b – people aged 70 to 75 years, and those with health conditions including HIV, chronic respiratory diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, certain cardiac conditions, cirrhosis, Asplenia and morbid obesity.
Phase 4a/b – people aged 65 to 69 years, and those with health conditions including certain types of diabetes and heart disease, and neuro muscular disease
Phase 5a/b – people aged 55 to 64 years and those with controlled diabetes and heart conditions, and certain cases of obesity.
Phase 6a/b – the rest of the population aged 16 to 54 years and any vulnerable people not yet vaccinated.
Who should have a vaccination?
The vaccination is not recommended for pregnant women, and if a woman discovers she is pregnant after the first vaccine, the second dose will be delayed until after the birth of her child. There are no vaccines currently recommended for use in ages below 16 years. Both these recommendations are based on the fact there has been insufficient testing on children and pregnant women.
Why get vaccinated?
The government has produced a brochure (in English) with details on the vaccine and an FAQ section which includes reasons to get vaccinated.
It states that vaccination will prevent the vast majority of people from catching the disease and keep more people healthy. It will decrease the social and physio social burden and also that on hospitals and health systems, plus it will free up time for hospitals to fight other diseases such as cancer.