Daily Management Review

Record Breaking Covid-19 Cases In Europe, Focus On Expanding Booster Shot


On Wednesday, Covid-19 infections hit new highs in some areas of Europe, making the continent the epicenter of a pandemic that has triggered additional travel restrictions and spurred health authorities to advocate for more use of booster vaccine doses.
Even as winter grips Europe and people gather indoors in the run-up to Christmas, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Hungary all reported new highs in daily infections, giving an ideal breeding habitat for COVID-19.
In the recent week, new cases in the Americas increased by 23 per cent, especially in North America, indicating that the region may be seeing a rebound of infections.
In the two years since it was first discovered in central China, the illness has overrun the globe, infecting over 258 million people and killing 5.4 million.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the EU's public health agency, has recommended vaccine boosters for all adults, with a priority for those over 40, reversing previous guidance that suggested extra doses should only be considered for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
"Available evidence emerging from Israel and the UK shows a significant increase in protection against infection and severe disease following a booster dose in all age groups in the short term," the ECDC said on Wednesday. read more
Administering booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines have already been started by many EU nations, although they are prioritized differently and the intervals between the initial and booster injections are variable.
Boosters would strengthen protection against infection caused by declining immunity, according to ECDC Director Andrea Ammon, and "may possibly limit transmission in the public and avoid extra hospitalizations and deaths."
She urged nations with low vaccination rates to accelerate rollouts and cautioned that if the suggested steps are not implemented, there is a significant danger of another surge in fatalities and hospitalizations in Europe in December and January.
While accepting that Europe had once again had turned into the epicenter of the pandemic, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also warned against the development of a "false sense of security" about the protection against the disease offered by the vaccines.
"No country is out of the woods," he told reporters, adding that he hoped a consensus can be found at a World Trade Organization ministerial meeting next week for an IP waiver for pandemic vaccines.
Sweden's government and health officials have announced that boosters would be progressively rolled out to all adults. mRNA vaccination booster doses have been administered to those aged 65 and older, with the goal of gradually expanding the treatments to additional populations.
"We are faced with an uncertain winter," Health Minister Lena Hallengren told a news conference. "You can contribute by staying home if you're sick or by getting vaccinated if you haven't already, and taking your booster when you're offered it."
On Wednesday, Slovakia's government ordered a two-week lockdown to stop the world's fastest outbreak of illnesses.
Restaurants and non-essential establishments will close, and travel will be restricted to necessary shopping, work, school, and medical appointments.
"The situation is serious," Prime Minister Eduard Heger said, "We got here because the (existing) measures were not observed." read more