Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission proposed preventative COVID-19 measures for coming autumn and winter seasons.
The body called on EU member states in a statement on Friday to prepare surveillance and vaccination plans, stressing the importance of vaccinating more people.
Margaritis Schinas, European Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life, stressed that “the past two years have prepared the EU to face another COVID-19 wave this autumn and winter… our actions now will greatly determine the future of the pandemic and the level of immunity that can be built up in the population.”
He expressed belief that bloc members should prepare to vaccinate more citizens and added that doing so “will limit the pressure on healthcare systems, disruption of the economies and challenges for the society.”
Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, expressed belief that EU member states “must act now, together, in a coordinated and sustained manner to help avoid another surge of serious COVID-19 cases.”
EC wants higher vaccination rates
According to her, bloc members have to introduce new vaccination programmes. “The vaccination gaps must be closed as a matter of top priority,” she stated.
The Commission called on EU countries to “improve the vaccine uptake of the primary vaccination course and first booster among eligible individuals,” especially EU member states with lower vaccination rates.
The body stressed the importance of “clear communication to citizens about the benefits of vaccination” against COVID-19 and pointed out that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved vaccines against newer variants of the virus.
It noted that member states should decide which vaccines should be made available to which groups based on EMA guidance.
The EC stressed that countries can impose mask mandates and restrictions on freedom of movement and association with the aim of limiting the spread of the virus, adding that this remains “a crucial part of the toolbox of member states.”
The body called on bloc members to be prepared to “reintroduce public health measures based on clear thresholds” and added that any measures imposed on the education system should be “kept to a minimum to prevent any disruption of education.”