BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Booster doses of a Covid-19 vaccine could reduce future hospitalizations caused by the disease in Europe by at least half a million, the European Union’s public health agency said on Thursday, even as it spreads. of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus at an unprecedented rate.
“The current adoption of a booster dose achieved in early January could reduce future Omicron hospitalizations by between 500,000 and 800,000” in Europe, said the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The figures cover the 27 countries that make up the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Currently, around 70% of the EU population of 450 million people have been fully vaccinated and half have received a booster dose.
“Expanding the booster program to all previously vaccinated individuals could reduce admissions by a further 300,000 to 500,000,” the ECDC said.
While cases of the Omicron variant in Europe are increasing at an unprecedented rate, with infection rates three times higher than at the highest peak so far, many countries may already be at a tipping point, the EU said.
“While in some Member States, the peak of infection appears to have been reached recently, the pandemic is not over yet,” added EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio)
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