Europe is on the way to its second pandemic winter and the European Commission has come out in recent days to push governments to start making the tough decisions they need. until now they avoided.
Brussels asked Wednesday night to administer a third dose “Urgently” to all adults. Until just two weeks ago, the recommendation was to do it only with the most vulnerable people and those over 65 years of age.
Meanwhile, Dutch ambulances carry covid patients from intensive care since Monday to North German hospitals.
Brussels hospitals suspend non-urgent surgical interventions to make room for covid patients.
Austria and Slovakia confine their population.
Cases in Europe
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Another “abnormal” Christmas
The epidemiological advisers of the governments ask for tougher measures and that they begin to warn the population that this coming Christmas it won’t be normal either, that the coronavirus will continue to claim deaths and collapse hospital systems again in tension.
The only good news is that vaccines are doing their job. Hospital pressure rises and incidence rises, but in countries that exceeded 75% of the population with the complete vaccine regimen the number of deceased does not rise. It does rise in those who did not reach that barrier, which seems to be setting the level of group immunity.
Seller in Vienna. Epidemiological advisers warn that this coming Christmas will not be normal either. Photo: AP
Brussels approved this Thursday the use of Pfizer’s vaccine to its use in children from five to 11 years old and proposed that vaccination certificates expire at the nine months from the date of administration of the complete coronavirus vaccine regimen.
Brussels applauds the progress of the vaccination process –irregular, with countries over 90% of the total population and some that do not reach 50%– but it already admits that, before coordinating, some governments “are taking additional public health measures, including the administration of third doses.”
What about travel
The Commission thus ensures that taking these factors into account, it proposes a “person-based” approach for travel management within the European Union.
More than restrictive measures for all, governments will be able to approve limitations on the free movement of the unvaccinated and they may cancel the vaccination certificates nine months after their issuance.
People wearing chinstraps crowd to get on the subway in Germany. Photo: AP
The Commission ensures that these nine months are based on the recommendation of the European Agency for Disease Control and Prevention, which called for six months, and an additional three months to “ensure that national vaccination campaigns are adjusted and citizens have access to that third dose ”.
The Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, acknowledged that 65% of the total European population vaccinated “is not sufficient. There are still many people who are unprotected. “
“Don’t take off your chinstraps”
“In order for everyone to travel and live in the safest way possible we have to achieve vaccination levels higher urgently. We also have to boost our immunity with third doses, “he demanded.
And he continued: “Taking into account the recommendations of the Agency for Disease Control and Prevention and to allow the Member States to adjust their vaccination campaigns, we propose a period of acceptance of certificates. And we ask that everyone continue to respect health measures. Do not remove the chinstraps”.
A couple kisses with their masks on. Photo: AP
Brussels recognizes that there are not enough studies to know how long the immunity provided by the third doses will last but that preliminary studies are already beginning to produce data showing that “protection by third doses can be expected to last longer than that offered by the first series of vaccines ”.
The European Commission will also take more into account the vaccination rate when approving travel restrictions.
It proposes that the colors of the covid map published every Thursday by the European Agency for Disease Control and Prevention not only take into account the incidence of the virus (number of cases in 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants) but also the vaccination rate.
Coronavirus by continent
The regions that appear in dark red, the worst situation, would have specific rules that would repeal that “person-based” approach. That is, there the restrictions on free movement would apply to everyone, vaccinated or not.
Travel to or from the EU
As to travel to or from of community territory, Brussels proposes prioritize those vaccinated.
The Commission believes that Member States they should open their borders to vaccinated people from third countries with a complete vaccination schedule with a vaccine approved by the World Health Organization or European authorities.
An ambulance for rapid tests in Frankfurt. Photo: AP
Those who have been vaccinated with vaccines approved by the WHO but not by Brussels must also present a negative PCR test. All these people will also be required to have their vaccination certificate has not exceeded nine months.
The percentage of the population that remains unvaccinated, the greater severity of the Delta variant, and the loss of vaccine efficacy in the population groups that received it first, some nine and ten months ago, led the EMA to warn that “current vaccination levels are insufficient for military covid cases and hospitalizations.”
This loss of protection with vaccines is seen, according to the Belgian government, in the data on hospitalizations in Flanders. 70% of the covid patients in their hospitals were vaccinated, but the majority, of advanced age, received vaccinations more than eight months ago.
Christmas markets, we’ll see
Europeans still do not know if this year they will have their Christmas markets but you can imagine that they will have to wear chinstraps.
Europeans still don’t know if they will have their Christmas markets this year. Photo: AP
They also expect restrictions on the number of people who will be able to attend indoor events. If those events are to be held.
Why does the virus return with force?
Brussels sees several main reasons: the high contagion capacity of the Delta variant, the lesser restrictions and the fact that in some countries of the bloc there are population percentages close to the 20 and 30% reluctant to get vaccinated.
Sanitary systems among the most powerful, such as the German and the Belgian, they start to be against the ropes in matters such as tests, unable to process all that they do.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, on a deserted square. Photo: AP
Romania and Bulgaria never had as many deaths from covid as in the last weeks.
Andrea Ammon, director of the European Agency for Disease Prevention and Control said Wednesday that governments they should re-approve restrictions “now” and that those restrictions should last until after the holidays.
Brussels, special for Clarín