The European Union’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency, said Thursday that unvaccinated individuals account for much of the “fourth wave” of COVID-19 infections in the region and encouraged EU member nations to close the vaccination gap.
During its regular COVID-19 briefing at EMA headquarters in Amsterdam, EMA biological threats chief Marco Cavaleri told reporters that in EU states, unvaccinated people, particularly those over the age of 50, are most likely to be hospitalized with severe COVID-19, be placed in intensive care or die.
Cavaleri urged member nations, especially those with "unacceptably low" vaccination rates, to “close this gap and make sure that as many people as possible will get vaccinated."
Cavaleri said the data they have collected continues to show, as expected, vaccine booster shots restore protection against infection and disease.
He said the EMA continues to recommend boosters be administered six months after full vaccination but that member states may offer the booster earlier.
The EMA chief said the agency will take up consideration Friday of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 treatment pill for emergency authorization. Last week, the agency said it would fast-track approval for Merck’s oral COVID-19 treatment, as well.
Cavaleri said these different classes of medicines and approaches represent a range of options for treating COVID-19. But he stressed the need to continue implementing public health measures, such as social distancing, hygiene practices and the wearing of face masks, “so that we protect ourselves and others."
Some information for this report came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.