European states are adding booster vaccinations, planning shots for children in the middle of the COVID wave

Nov 25 (Reuters) – European countries expanded COVID-19 booster vaccinations, began plans to get shots at young children and tightened some curbs on Thursday as the continent battled an increase in coronavirus cases and concerns about its economic downturn grew.

Slovakia went into a two-week lockdown, the Czech government declaring a 30-day state of emergency involving early closure of bars and clubs and a ban on Christmas markets, while Germany crossed the threshold of 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths.

Europe is at the heart of the latest COVID-19 wave, reporting one million new infections approximately every other day and now accounts for almost two-thirds of new infections worldwide.

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The European Commission on Thursday proposed that EU citizens should have booster shots if they want to travel to another country in the bloc next summer without the need for tests or quarantines. Read more

In France, authorities announced that booster shots would be made available to anyone over the age of 18, instead of just those over 65 and those with underlying health problems. Read more

Many countries are rolling out or increasing the use of booster shots, even though the World Health Organization wants the most vulnerable people worldwide to be fully vaccinated first.

In Africa, where only 6.6% of the 1.2 billion population is fully vaccinated, many countries are struggling with logistics to speed up their inoculation campaigns as the supply of vaccines finally picks up, the head of Africa’s disease control body said on Thursday. .

On Wednesday, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recommended vaccine boosters for all adults, with priority given to those over 40.

The number of new daily cases in Germany on Thursday hit a record 75,961, and its total death toll reached 100,119 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Robert Koch Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Data showed that the rise weighs on consumer morale in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, and dampens business prospects during the Christmas trading season. Read more

SHOTS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

There is increasing pressure in some countries to vaccinate young children.

The EU Medical Watchdog on Thursday approved the use of the Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTechs (22UAy.DE) vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds in a lower dose after approving it for children as young as 12 in May. The European Commission is issuing a final decision, which is expected on Friday.

Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were preparing to inoculate young children after approval by the European Medicines Agency, although deliveries of the lower doses are not due until 20 December.

In France, where the number of infections doubles every 11 days, Health Minister Olivier Veran said he would ask health authorities to investigate whether 5- to 11-year-olds should be able to be vaccinated.

Nearly half a million lives across Europe have been saved due to vaccination among people aged 60 and over since the rollout of the vaccine began, the World Health Organization’s regional office said Thursday in a study with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. .

STRICTER PREPARATION

Many European countries are sharpening the curbs.

The state of emergency announced by the Czech Republic allows the government to order restrictions on public life. The authorities who ordered bars and clubs to close down at. 22, banned Christmas markets and restricted participation in cultural and sporting events for 1,000 people. Read more

Slovakia’s two-week lockdown from Thursday followed neighboring Austria, which began a lockdown on Monday. Slovakia, with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the EU, reported a critical situation in hospitals and new infections that topped the global charts. Read more

Authorities ordered all but essential shops and services closed and banned people from traveling outside their districts unless they were going to work, school or a doctor. Assemblies of more than six people were banned.

French authorities said the rules for wearing face masks will be tightened and the control of health passes used to access public places will be increased. But officials said there was no need to follow European countries that have reintroduced lockdowns.

In Germany, Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock said the new government, made up of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP), had set itself 10 days to decide whether further restrictions were needed. Read more

A large part of Germany has already introduced rules to restrict access to indoor activities to persons who have been vaccinated or have recovered.

In the Netherlands, the number of coronavirus patients in the hospital has hit levels not seen since the beginning of May, and experts have warned that hospitals will reach full capacity in a little more than a week if the virus is not contained.

The Dutch government said it would take strong action to curb infections. The national television station NOS reported on Thursday that the government’s leading outbreak management team has advised on the closure of restaurants, bars and unnecessary shops before 1 p.m. 17.00 as part of a new package of decommissioning measures.

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Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Madeline Chambers, Emma Thomasson, Radovan Stoklasa, Gergely Szakacs, Anthony Deutsch, Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay, and Reuters; Author: Frances Kerry; Edited by Josephine Mason, Angus MacSwan and Alexander Smith

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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