Europe warns of the risk posed by the new variants of coronavirus for those over 60

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warn, in a joint statement published this Monday, of the risk posed to people over 60 by the new variants of COVID- 19 considered highly infectious.

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The statement points out that, although there is currently no evidence that the disease caused by the BA.4 and BA.5 variants is more serious than those caused by previous variants, the high transmission among older people is leading to an increase in severe cases.

“As of June 26, 2022, COVID-19 case reporting rates in the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) have remained high and have increased over the past 5 weeks,” the statement said. .

“Rates among people aged 65 and over increased in 23 of the 27 countries considered. Although these increases are still relatively recent, they mark the beginning of a widespread wave driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 variants,” he adds.

In addition, 12 countries have reported an increase in an upward trend in hospitalization and ICU admission rates. "Although mortality rates in the EU/EEA have remained stable over the last five weeks, the ECDC's epidemiological modeling indicates that both case notification rates and mortality rates will increase," the statement said.

Based on the foregoing, the two agencies recall their recommendation to early application of the second booster of the coronavirus vaccine to people over 60 years of age or with previous pathologies that make them be considered as belonging to a risk group.

"The mathematical model suggests clear benefits of an early launch of the second booster to protect people over 60 years of age," say the agencies, which made this recommendation a week ago.

“Therefore, early implementation of a second booster should be considered not only for the population aged 80 years and older, but also for adults aged 60-79 years and people with underlying conditions regardless of age,” it adds.

The European Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, has pointed out that infections are increasing throughout the EU and with them also serious cases, so it is necessary to take measures, especially in the face of the waves expected for autumn and winter.

“Vaccination remains our greatest protection against hospitalization, severe cases, and death. I once again reiterate my call to all who have not yet received all recommended doses to take them urgently, including first boosters for everyone and second boosters for those over 60 as well as those who are vulnerable." the commissioner said in statements cited in the statement.

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