Vaccination, autumn campaign

English Section / 20 septembrie

Vaccination, autumn campaign

Versiunea în limba română

In autumn, we no longer count buds; instead, we make lists of people vaccinated against various viruses that roam this world. Germany launched its autumn vaccination campaign at the beginning of this week to prevent respiratory infections, promoting the administration of an updated COVID-19 booster dose only for the elderly and individuals at high risk of illness. According to Germany's main health authority, the Robert Koch Institute, the national advisory vaccination group (STIKO), composed of independent experts, reiterated its recommendation that booster doses, given outside a standard COVID-19 vaccination schedule, should only be administered to specific high-risk groups. "People aged 60 and above and high-risk groups should get vaccinated; if they do it alongside the flu vaccination, even better," said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who is 60 years old and received a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. Germany's choice to target only the elderly, high-risk individuals, or those with chronic illnesses aligns with the approach of other European countries, such as France, Italy, or the United Kingdom. For the new vaccines, the UK prioritized individuals aged 75 and over, residents of care facilities, and immunocompromised individuals. This contrasts with the United States, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the widespread use of updated COVID-19 vaccines for all individuals aged 6 months and older last week.

On the other hand, regulatory authorities in the European Union have given the green light to an updated COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, targeting the XBB.1.5 variant of the Omicron strain. Moderna's updated vaccine is also pending approval, as reported by Reuters. The European Commission authorized the updated Moderna vaccine to target a very common subvariant of the virus that causes COVID-19, as the cold season approaches, following its previous approval of the updated Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) no longer considers COVID-19 a global emergency since May, the virus continues to circulate in all countries, with new strains emerging. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended in June that vaccines be updated to target the XBB strain of the virus, which has become dominant in Europe and other parts of the world. Moderna's updated vaccine, targeting the XBB.1.5 subvariant of Omicron, has been approved for adults and children over 5 years of age and is administered as a single dose, regardless of previous vaccinations. In early September, the Commission also approved the updated Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is adapted to more effectively counter the XBB.1.5 subvariant and is also administered as a single dose.

These two vaccines, which generally offer better protection against other variants currently in circulation, according to AFP, have been approved in recent weeks by the European regulatory authority. The Commission has authorized the introduction of these updated vaccines to the market through an accelerated procedure to allow member states to prepare their vaccination campaigns for autumn and winter on time.

In our country, a total of 58 people were vaccinated against COVID with the Pfizer Omicron vaccine adapted to the new coronavirus strains during the week of September 11-17, 2023. The administration of this vaccine began on November 28, 2022. According to the National Institute of Public Health, since the start of the vaccination campaign on December 27, 2020, a total of 16,923,700 doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered. 8,131,247 people have received the complete vaccination schedule, and 2,669,186 have been immunized with the third dose. In total, since the start of the vaccination campaign, there have been 20,106 adverse reactions to COVID vaccines, with 2,248 being local and 17,858 being general reactions.

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