EU company says to give attention to vaccines first, not booster vaccinations | Well being information
By LORNE COOK, Associated Press
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union’s Infectious Diseases Agency on Thursday urged countries to step up their primary coronavirus vaccination programs, downplaying the need for booster shoots to fend off the Delta variant in public.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said approved vaccines are “currently highly effective” in limiting the effects of COVID-19. “The priority now should be to vaccinate all eligible individuals who have not yet completed their recommended vaccination course,” it said.
After a slow start to the vaccine campaign in Europe, the EU executive, the European Commission, announced this week that an average of 70% of adults across the 27-nation bloc are fully vaccinated. National vaccination rates vary, however, with Bulgaria and Romania being particularly slow with their programs.
On Wednesday, France became the first major EU country to start giving boosters of the COVID-19 vaccine to people over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions as the Delta variant spreads in the country. The Spanish health authorities are considering similar measures.
The ECDC said that additional vaccinations for people “with severely weakened immune systems” should be considered if the first vaccinations do not protect them well enough, but that “there is no urgent need to booster fully vaccinated people in general. “
It is common for protection against vaccines to diminish over time. Currently, vaccines approved in the EU and US continue to offer very strong protection against serious illness and death, but their ability to prevent infection is declining significantly in nursing home patients and others due to the surge in delta.
Still, many countries are struggling to give initial doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and the World Health Organization had called for a booster moratorium and urged governments to donate vaccines to countries in need.
Spain’s Vaccine Expert Council on Wednesday recommended giving people with compromised immune systems, such as transplant recipients, a third vaccination. National and regional health authorities will discuss the issue at their weekly pandemic meeting on September 8th.
EU commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker said Thursday the block had enough shots should scientific evidence suggest boosters may be needed across the board.
He said Brussels recently signed a deal with vaccine maker BioNTech-Pfizer for 1.8 billion additional doses from 2021 to 2023 and a second deal with Moderna for 150 million vaccinations for the block of roughly 450 million residents.
“We have taken the necessary measures to be ready,” said De Keersmaecker.
The AP author Aritz Parra in Madrid contributed to this report.
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