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COVID: The EU warns that a ‘completely new’ strain could emerge this winter. News | DW

European Union officials and health experts on Friday called on governments to step up measures to curb the expected surge in COVID-19 infections this winter.

The request was made after the European Medicines Agency approved the Moderna and BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines. These vaccines have been updated to address the Omicron subspecies.

What are countries asked to do this winter?

The European Commission has announced a set of concrete measures and strategies that governments will adopt as the bloc of 27 member states heads into the fall and winter.

This action includes prioritizing adapted boosters for higher-risk population groups, and for those who have not yet received the full dose or first booster, especially children currently eligible for jabs. This includes trying to fill vaccination gaps.

Countries are also urged to maintain their vaccination capacity by reopening vaccination centers or having GPs administer jabs.

While many restrictions on wearing face masks in public have been lifted, the commission “strongly encouraged” governments to ensure their use in certain situations, such as on public transport. did.

What about new variants?

The EU’s enforcement agency, the European Commission, said this summer’s surge in cases “was a very clear reminder that the pandemic is far from over”.

As more activities move indoors and children return to school in the cooler months, the chances of the virus spreading increase. Said it could have an impact.

“These factors make it easier for the virus to spread rapidly within the EU, leading to the emergence of new subspecies that may evade immunity, spread more easily, or cause more severe illness. It will open the door to,” warned the commission.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also warned that further coronavirus variants may be on the horizon, but existing vaccines still protect people.

“There could be entirely new variants that we cannot predict today,” Marco Cavalelli, EMA’s vaccine director, said at a press conference on Friday.

He urged people not to wait for a specific vaccine adapted to the currently dominant Omicron strain.

“Even if the original vaccine is less effective than the new jab in preventing infection, it can still protect against severe COVID-19 illness and death.

The EU says more than 2,300 people across the bloc die every week from coronavirus infections.

rs/wd (AFP, Reuters, KNA)

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