EU health agency warns of deteriorating coronavirus situation
Delta variant can seriously affect EU unless public health measures adopted, vaccination rate increased
The coronavirus situation will deteriorate in the European Union in the next two months unless the bloc introduces new measures and raises the vaccination rate, the head of the EU's public health agency warned Wednesday.
According to the latest modeling scenarios from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the spread of the delta variant will impose a high burden on European societies unless governments introduce stricter public health measures and increase vaccination of the total population.
The ECDS also projects a large number of new hospitalizations will be unvaccinated people.
“There are still too many individuals at risk of severe COVID-19 infection whom we need to protect as soon as possible. We need to urgently focus on closing this immunity gap, offer booster doses to all adults, and reintroduce non-pharmaceutical measures,” ECDC Director Andrea Ammon said in a statement.
Approximately 70% of the bloc's adult population has been vaccinated which “gives ample room for the virus to spread,” she said and urged governments to reach out to those who have not been inoculated before the winter festive season.
She also advised countries to administer booster doses for all adults above 18 years of age, giving priority to those older than 40, diverging from the ECDC's recommendation in September that did not see an “urgent need” to give booster shots to fully vaccinated and healthy adults.
The EU is dealing with the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday as she noted the importance of vaccination.
According to the latest statistics from the EU executive body, a higher vaccination rate directly correlates to lower death rates in EU countries.
Bulgaria and Romania, which have the lowest vaccination rate among EU countries with 29% and 43% of their adult populations fully vaccinated, 325 and 267 deaths per 1 million habitants were registered in November, respectively.
In contrast, Ireland and Portugal with the highest vaccination rates of 93% and 92%, recorded 15 and 10 deaths per 1 million people, respectively.