Omicron brings Covid out of pandemic phase, according to European experts

Omicron had reinstated restrictions around the world as Covid cases increased.

The Hague, The Netherlands:

The spread of the Omicron variant is pushing Covid to become an endemic disease that humanity can live with, although it remains a pandemic for now, the EU drug watchdog said on Tuesday.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) also expressed doubts over giving a fourth vaccine to the general population, saying repeated boosters were not a “sustainable” strategy.

“No one knows exactly when we’ll be at the end of the tunnel but we’ll be there,” Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccine strategy at the Amsterdam-based regulator, told reporters.

“With the increase in immunity in the population – and with Omicron there will be a lot of natural immunity in addition to vaccination – we will move quickly towards a scenario which will be closer to endemicity,” he said. -he adds.

But he stressed that “we must not forget that we are still in a pandemic”, noting the enormous burden on health care the Omicron outbreak poses.

The World Health Organization said earlier Tuesday that more than half of people in Europe are on track to catch the variant within the next two months.

The WHO has also warned that repeated recalls of Covid were not a viable strategy, comments from the EU medicines regulator echoed.

“If we have a strategy where we give boosters every four months, we’ll end up potentially having immune response issues,” EMA’s Cavaleri said.

“And second of course there is the risk of the population becoming fatigued with the continued administration of boosters.”

Instead, countries should start thinking about spacing out the boosters at longer intervals and synchronizing them with the onset of the cold season the way flu shots are currently administered, Cavaleri said.

The EMA said separately that studies had confirmed that despite being more infectious, the risk of hospitalization from the Omicron variant was between one-third and one-half of that posed by the Delta strain.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

.

Leave a Comment