COVID19: EU commissioner says only jab can stop new wave

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Cypriot EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the new COVID-19 outbreak surging across Europe is being driven by the unvaccinated when vaccines are the only effective response.

“What we are seeing in the last few weeks is a worrying large increase of the number of COVID-19 cases across Europe,” Kyriakides told European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg.

“We all know, and we can all see that Europe is now in the middle of yet another wave.

Kyriakides sent a “very clear message on the role of vaccines because the evidence is clear: Vaccination works and remains the most effective tool we have to keep people safe.”

“They are effective against severe disease and hospitalisation and protect against loss of life.”

Even, she said, with the dominant Delta variant with its increased transmissibility and severity, adding that all our scientific evidence backs this.

“We are now facing a pandemic mainly driven by the unvaccinated,” adding that the rising numbers are unfortunately fuelling vaccine hesitancy.

“We all need to take a firm stand against this. And the Honourable Members of this Parliament can play an important role in this effort.”

“We have already reached out to those countries most severely affected, who also have the lowest vaccine uptake.

“We are offering direct support, together with ECDC, to help them combat misinformation and boost vaccine uptake, and welcome your help and collaboration in your countries.

Kyriakides said Europe needed “to avoid fragmentation, and for this, strong coordination is key.”

“We are currently preparing an update of the Council Recommendations related to free movement within the EU.”

She said the proposal, to be adopted this week, will promote and acknowledge the important role of the EU Digital COVID Certificate that travellers nowadays carry.

“Close collaboration and coordination are absolutely essential – at every step of this journey.”

“It is together that we can ensure that the EU is better prepared for the future.

“We need to reach political agreement on all the European Health Union proposals as soon as possible.

“It is the surest way to build a Union that is better prepared, more resilient, and more responsive in the face of future crises.”