COVID-19: Commission rallies Member States to prepare for autumn and winter
The EU Commission is proposing concrete measures to avoid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the upcoming autumn and winter season. The Commission is urging EU Member States to put the necessary strategies and structures in place, including for COVID-19 vaccination and surveillance, to respond to future outbreaks in a fast and sustained manner. The main aim of the actions proposed by the Commission is to increase the uptake of vaccines, including adapted and new vaccines, and to ensure that all citizens are well protected.
Main actions on COVID-19 vaccination
In particular, the Commission encourages the Member States to:
Improve the vaccine uptake of the primary vaccination course and first booster dose among eligible individuals. This is of particular importance for population groups at higher risk of severe outcomes and for countries with lower vaccination rates.
Prioritise the administration of an additional booster dose for specific population groups, notably people aged 60 years and over and other eligible individuals of any age at risk of severe disease.
Combine COVID-19 and influenza vaccination campaigns. Accompany vaccination with regularly updated and clear communication, based on epidemiological developments, behavioural insights, and public perception.
Ensuring clear communication to citizens about the benefits of vaccination.
Vice-President for Promoting European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “The past two years have prepared the EU to face another COVID-19 wave this autumn and winter. Our actions now will greatly determine the future of the pandemic and the level of immunity that can be built up in the population. Member States should continue coordination of preparedness efforts across the EU, ahead of the next wave and further rollout of vaccination programmes. Taking action now will limit the pressure on healthcare systems, disruptions of the economies and challenges for the society.”
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “The pandemic is still very much with us. We must act now, together, in a coordinated and sustained manner to help avoid another surge of serious COVID-19 cases. To do so, it is crucial that all Member States have robust vaccination strategies in place to prepare for the autumn and winter, including for the roll-out of the newly authorised adapted booster vaccines. The vaccination gaps must be closed as a matter of top priority. It is also essential that resilient surveillance systems are set up to monitor the development of the virus, that strategies for the reintroduction of effective public health measures are in place if needed and that the capacity of health care systems is strengthened. To say it clearly, we need to be ready to face another challenging season.”
Source: European Commission Press Service