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Hospitalization rate increased due to BA.5 Omicron, EU audience expanded to 4 injections

The European Union (EU) emphasized to the authorities of 27 member countries that “there is no time to waste”, in the context that BA.5 Omicron is “shaking” the number of cases that require protection. emergency …

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According to Medical Xpress, the EU recommended on July 11 that a second booster dose of the vaccine (dose 4) be administered immediately to people aged 60 to 79 and other vulnerable populations. It’s very important.

“With the number of cases and hospitalizations rising again as we enter the summer, I urge everyone to get vaccinated and immunized as soon as possible. There is no time to waste,” said European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides. , in a statement. statement.

The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) say that a second booster can be given at least 4 months after the first booster.

In April, the EU recommended injections for people over 80, but the new wave has caused them to widen their audience. ECDC Director Andrea Ammon said that this wave is being driven by the highly infectious BA.5 Omicron mutation and that the current situation is just the beginning of a big wave that will soon sweep across the EU.

The agencies say there is currently no clear evidence to support a second booster dose for people under 60, who are not at increased risk of severe illness.

According to many studies and data from health authorities around the world, Omicron BA.5 does not show signs of increased virulence compared to previous strains, so the disease is usually mild in young people who have received 2-3 injections.

However, for people at high risk of serious progression, such as people over 60 years of age, people with underlying diseases, people who are immunocompromised, BA.5, as well as the previous Omicron subtypes, can still cause serious illness and death. death. , although less likely than the previous strains. Multiple studies have shown that dose 4 significantly reduces hospitalization in subjects at risk.

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