The European Union’s disease control agency has called for more rapid vaccination in Europe, as the highly transmissible Delta variant of Covid is expected to account for 90 percent of all cases in member countries by the end of August.
According to Dr Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), people who have had a single vaccination are still at risk of infection and hospitalization, with the variant likely to spread widely among young people this summer.
Ammon said in a somber statement at a time when many EU countries are looking to relax restrictions and facilitate travel via a Covid passport that there were still too many people in the union’s more vulnerable age groups who were not fully vaccinated.
According to the ECDC’s modeling, if the current Covid restrictions are not maintained and vaccination is not accelerated, there will be a wave of infection, deaths, and hospitalizations similar to what occurred last autumn.
In her statement, Ammon urged younger people who may not have received their full complement of vaccines to strictly adhere to social distancing regulations, and she urged the EU’s public health authorities to save lives by accelerating vaccination programs.
According to the most recent ECDC data, 33.9 percent of adults in the EU/EEA are fully vaccinated, and 57.1 percent have received at least a single dose.
“The Delta variant is more transmissible than other circulating variants, and we estimate that by the end of August, it will account for 90 percent of all Sars-CoV-2 viruses circulating in the European Union,” Ammon explained. “Unfortunately, preliminary data indicates that it can also infect people who have only received one dose of the currently available vaccines.” The Delta variant is very likely to circulate widely during the summer, particularly among younger people who are not targeted for vaccination. If these individuals are not fully vaccinated, they are at risk of becoming infected and suffering severe illness or death.”
Ammon, a former German government adviser, stated that two doses of all available vaccines in Europe provided “high protection against this variant and its consequences.” However, in the European Union, approximately 30% of people over the age of 80 and 40% of people over the age of 60 have not yet received a full vaccination course.”
The Delta variant, which has slowed the UK’s reopening, is thought to be 40% to 60% more transmissible than the original virus and is associated with a higher risk of hospitalization. According to the ECDC’s modeling, this variant will be responsible for 70% of new Covid infections in the European Economic Area by early August, and 90% of infections by the end of that month.
According to the EU agency, a 50% reduction in non-pharmaceutical interventions by September, such as allowing the staging of large events, will result in an increase in infection across all age groups.
According to Ammon, the variant jeopardized the pandemic’s overall control efforts and necessitated “immediate actions” from national authorities.
“There are still too many people at risk of severe Covid-19 infection who we need to protect as soon as possible,” she said. Until the majority of vulnerable people are protected, we must keep the Delta virus at bay by strictly adhering to public health measures that have proven effective in limiting the impact of other variants.
“It is critical to move forward with the vaccine rollout at a rapid pace. At this point, it is critical that the second vaccination dose be administered within the minimum authorized interval from the first dose in order to accelerate the rate at which vulnerable individuals become protected.”
Ammon continued, “I am aware that achieving this goal will necessitate a significant effort on the part of public health authorities and society at large.” However, now is the time to go the extra mile. We have several safe and effective vaccines on the market, and every infection prevented now through our adherence to public health measures is a life that can be saved by vaccination.”