With the Delta variant-powered COVID-19 infection wave crippling the EU, European medicine authorities urge unvaccinated people to get a jab before contracting the virus.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA), in a joint statement with the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), urged people to complete their vaccination regime before the virus catches up with them.
“Full vaccination is key to protecting against serious COVID-19.
“Full vaccination with any of the EU/EEA-approved vaccines offers a high level of protection against severe disease and death caused by SARS-CoV-2, including variants, such as Delta,” said their statement.
It noted the highest level of protection takes up to two weeks after the second dose to be achieved.
The two bodies said that getting vaccinated is about more than protecting oneself.
“It is also important for protecting those at highest risk of severe disease and hospitalisation, reducing the spread of the virus, and preventing the emergence of new variants of concern”.
Mike Catchpole, ECDC’s Chief Scientist, said: “While the available vaccines are highly effective in protecting people against severe COVID-19 until higher proportions of the population are immunised, the risk is not beyond us.
“We are now witnessing an increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the EU/EEA, and vaccines remain the best available option to avoid an increase in severe disease and death”.
In light of recent breakthrough infections amongst vaccinated people, the EMA noted they should not be interpreted as a sign that vaccines do not work.
“Although the effectiveness of all COVID-19 vaccines authorised in the EU/EEA is very high, no vaccine is 100% effective.
“This means that a limited number of SARS-CoV-2 infections among persons that have completed the recommended vaccination schedule (‘breakthrough infections’) are expected.
“However, when infections do occur, vaccines can prevent severe disease to a large extent, and greatly reduce the number of people in hospital due to COVID-19”.
Fergus Sweeney, EMA’s Head of Clinical Studies and Manufacturing, said: “These COVID-19 vaccines are very effective.
“However, as long as the virus continues to circulate, we will continue to see breakthrough infections in vaccinated people”.
“This does not mean that the vaccines are not working.
“Vaccinated people are far better protected against severe COVID-19 than unvaccinated people, and we should all endeavour to be fully vaccinated at the earliest opportunity”.
EMA and ECDC said that everyone should abide by health protocols and personal protection measures
“Until more people are fully vaccinated, and while SARS-CoV-2 is still spreading, everyone should adhere to national regulations and continue to take measures such as wearing masks and respecting social distancing, even those individuals who have received a complete vaccination schedule”.
According to Cyprus Health Ministry, 74.5% of the island’s adult population has received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 66.6% completing their vaccination regime.
Cyprus also expanded its vaccination rollout to children aged 12 to 15 this week, after earlier including 16 and 17-year-olds.
Some 5,366 jab appointments have been booked this week, with 2,551 for children aged 12 to 17.
Cyprus is trying to keep the Delta variant in check, as cases skyrocketed to a record 1,152 last month,
There were 575 new cases reported on Wednesday, raising total infections to 103,889 and 430 deaths.