The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, warns that a third of Europeans are still not vaccinated and calls for massive immunization campaigns
The irruption of the omicron variant It has added another element of concern to a very complicated epidemiological situation in Europe due to the spike in COVID-19 cases that has led European governments to impose new restrictions, including the ban on flights with seven countries in southern Africa. Against this background, the European Commission has called on the Member States this Wednesday to redouble their vigilance against the new variant, with daily reviews of travel restrictions, and an urgent acceleration in the vaccination campaigns and the administration of the booster dose to all adults. According to Ursula von der LeyenIn these circumstances it is “understandable” to launch the debate on compulsory vaccination.
“We have 77% of adults in the EU vaccinated, 66% of the global population. This means that a third of Europeans are not vaccinated: 150 million people. Its alot. And not everyone can be vaccinated, there are very young children or people with certain diseases, but the vast majority can & rdquor ;, the president of the European Commission has warned about a reality that is not homogeneous and that is increasingly worrying in Brussels. While in some Member States the percentage of vaccinated adults exceeds 70%, in others it is less than 24%. And, the most worrying thing, maintains the latest analysis of the Community Executive, in some EU countries up to 65% of the population over 65 years of age does not yet have the complete guideline.
For this reason, the European Commission has once again called on governments to urgently accelerate the vaccination campaigns, particularly of unvaccinated people, as well as the administration of booster doses among people who already have the complete pattern, starting with the most vulnerable groups, to maintain a high level of protection against the omicron variant.
The former German defense minister, a doctor by profession, has acknowledged that in these circumstances it is “understandable and appropriate & rdquor; think about how to improve vaccination levels. “It is an exclusive competence of the Member States and I am not the one who should give any kind of recommendation. But if you ask me for my personal opinion about it, 2 or 3 years ago I would never have thought to attend what we are seeing right now. This horrible pandemic where we have vaccines that save lives but are not used properly everywhere. This carries a huge health cost & rdquor ;, von der Leyen has warned, opening the door to the debate on compulsory vaccination that countries such as Austria and what others like Germany in the face of resistance from society to the vaccine . “We must debate this issue of vaccination and carry out the debate on compulsory vaccination in Europe & rdquor ;, answered von der Leyen questioned about the obligation.
According to the EU diagnosis, “it is clear that vaccination reduces the probability of infection and is very effective in reducing serious illness and death. Vaccination does not offer complete protection against infection and vaccinated people, if infected, can continue to transmit the disease. But infection in vaccinated people is much more likely to lead to a relatively mild case of covid-19 & rdquor ;, argues Brussels.
The president has also confirmed that the European Union (EU) will have, as of next December 13th of vaccines adapted for children from 5 years old, which have already been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). “I have spoken with BionTech-Pfizer and there is good news. They can accelerate and vaccines for children will be available from December 13,” he stated. According to the President of the Commission, the EU will have sufficient quantities of messenger RNA vaccines to deliver the booster dose in the first quarter of 2022. “We will have 360 million doses of messenger RNA vaccines to be delivered in the first quarter of 2022 “, has said.
More Omicron surveillance
In addition to reinforcing vaccination, Brussels has asked European governments to do not neglect vigilance, to put in place “proportionate & rdquor; to contain the spread of the virus. “The appearance of the omicron variant means that special attention should be paid to the application and communication of specific measures on contacts during the year-end period & rdquor ;, recommends the Commission, which also asks governments to increase the genomic sequencing capacity of the virus, that they carry out more widespread testing of wastewater and to give more support to southern African countries to carry out clinical studies on the new variant.
Brussels also considers it crucial to maintain an effective tracking system and for all Member States to equip themselves with mandatory travel forms with travel information. “Without clear information on the countries visited by all travelers in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the EU, a deteriorating situation is more likely to require a total ban on travel from outside the EU for non-essential travelers. , and stricter quarantine requirements for essential travelers, “warns the Commission announcing the presentation of a coordinated approach to passenger location forms.