Brussels calls for a booster dose for all adults, with priority for those over 40 | Society

The European Union has warned this Wednesday of a dramatic increase in the number of hospitalizations and deaths from covid-19 during the next two months if drastic measures are not adopted to contain the pandemic. Brussels specifically calls for the acceleration of vaccination campaigns, the imposition of social restrictions in countries with less than 80% of the population vaccinated and the administration of one more dose to all those over 40 years of age who had already received the vaccine. full guideline.

“The booster doses must be available to the entire adult population, with priority to people over 40 years old,” urged the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The community leader’s request comes after the publication this Wednesday of the new risk analysis of covid-19 prepared by the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC, according to its acronym in English).

ECDC anticipates that “the burden of disease (hospitalizations and deaths) will be very high in December [de 2021] and january [de 2022] unless public health measures are applied in combination with a continuous effort to increase vaccination of the entire population ”. The increase in social contacts, especially with a view to the end of the year holidays, could put all countries in a high risk situation, according to the new analysis of the agency.

ECDC Director Andrea Ammon recommends a booster dose for all adults, with priority for those over 40 years of age. ECDC recommendations are not mandatory for EU governments, but are used to make health decisions. In September, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) endorsed a third dose for the immunosuppressed population.

The ECDC analysis concludes that “the epidemiological situation has deteriorated in recent weeks in most EU countries”. And he points out that the deterioration is greater in countries with low vaccination rates or where punctures progress slowly. But it warns that the rate of vaccination seems to have peaked in most countries “and an epidemiological worsening is observed even in countries with higher vaccination rates.”

The European agency attributes the worsening of the situation to the spread of the delta variant of the virus, which is now the dominant one in Europe and whose contagion capacity is up to 60% greater than that of previous variants. To this is added that the influenza virus has recovered its normal contagion rate this winter, after the decline it registered during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

At the current juncture, the vaccination rates achieved do not seem sufficient, according to Brussels, to contain a new spike in covid-19. Only 65% ​​of the total population has received the doses of the first round of vaccination and in several EU countries this has not reached 50%.

The ECDC report insists that the vaccines administered are achieving their intended effects: preventing contagion from causing serious illness or death. The studies cited by the agency lead to the conclusion that without vaccines the number of deaths and hospitalizations would have been triple. But the agency recognizes that the effectiveness of the puncture, close to 80%, can decline slightly over time, especially in the most vulnerable people.

The European agency recommends that immunity be boosted by administering a third dose six months after completing the initial regimen. And it warns that the majority of hospitalizations in the coming weeks will, in fact, be people who have not been vaccinated.

On the other hand, Sweden announced this Wednesday that it will begin to inject a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine to prevent its advance. The country, which has not experienced a new wave of infections, unlike its neighbors, is nevertheless concerned that this could happen to it. So far, Sweden has offered a booster dose of mRNA vaccines to people over 65 years of age. “We are facing an uncertain winter,” said Health Minister Lena Hallengren. The Swedish health agency has ensured that these booster doses can be injected six months after the second dose, starting with those over 50 years of age.

In Spain, third dose for people over 60

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, announced last week the inclusion of health personnel and people from 60 to 69 years old in the groups that can receive the booster dose. The Public Health Commission had already agreed on October 5 to administer the booster dose to those over 70 years of age and to people living in residences (about seven million citizens). Three weeks later, he made the same decision for the two million people immunized with Janssen’s single-dose vaccine. Right now, the extra dose (second for Janssen, third for the rest) is recommended for some 16 million people, just over a third of the total population of Spain. If the indication were extended to those over 40, it would be extended to another 15 million people.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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