(Stockholm) The European Union on Monday recommended a second booster vaccine against COVID-19 for everyone over 60, instead of 80 so far, in the face of a vast summer “wave” which is looming in Europe.
The recommendation also applies to all vulnerable people, say the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in a joint press release.
“I call on member states to immediately offer second boosters to all over 60s and vulnerable people, and I call on all eligible people to come forward for vaccination,” said the European Commissioner for Health. Health, Stella Kyriakides.
In April, the two EU health agencies had already recommended this second booster – in most cases a fourth dose – for the over-80s, but signaled that an extension to the over-60s could follow.
Europe is facing “an increase in COVID-19 cases but also an upward trend in the number of hospitalizations or emergency admissions in several countries, mainly due to the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron”, more contagious, underlined the director of the ECDC, Andrea Ammon.
“This signals the start of a new widespread wave of COVID-19 across the European Union. There are still too many people at risk of serious COVID-19 infection whom we must protect as soon as possible,” insisted the European official.
According to the ECDC and the EMA, on the other hand, there is “at this stage no clear evidence justifying giving a second booster dose to people under 60 who do not have a higher risk of developing a serious form. of COVID-19.
Cyprus, France, Greece
According to public data from the World Health Organization (WHO) for its Europe zone covering around fifty countries, the number of cases of COVID-19 has been rising sharply since the end of May.
The number of new daily cases exceeded 675,000 on Friday, returning to its level of early April after the strong winter surge.
The number of deaths recorded by the WHO has also risen in recent weeks, but remains at a low level of around 700 daily deaths in an area of nearly 900 million inhabitants including Russia and Central Asian states.
The WHO had warned at the end of June that it expected “high levels” of the spread of the virus this summer, due to the more contagious nature of the BA.5 sub-variant.
However, the latter is not inherently more dangerous, experts point out.
The summer periods of 2020 and 2021 had been marked by a relative respite in Europe, with the peaks of contagion concentrated so far between autumn and spring.
Almost all European countries are showing a sharp increase in cases.
Behind Cyprus, France is the country of WHO Europe with the highest incidence, according to the dashboard of the UN organization. Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Austria follow.
In France, the president of the Scientific Council in charge of the epidemic, Jean-François Delfraissy, said Monday that the healthcare system would “hold up” in the face of what constitutes the seventh wave in France.
The Paris region, the most affected by the BA.5 sub-variant, should wait for its peak “next week”, according to him.