There is a high risk of an increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths this fall in countries with insufficient vaccine coverage, the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) has warned.
Vulnerable and fully vaccinated people are still at risk of contracting an infection with serious consequences, he said in his latest rapid risk assessment.
Only 61 percent of the total EU population is fully vaccinated and only three countries – Malta, Portugal and Iceland – have vaccinated more than 75 percent of their population.
Ireland, with 72.8% of the population vaccinated, is just below the 75% threshold set by the ECDC.
“Predictions show that a combination of high vaccine coverage and effective reduction in contacts is crucial to reducing the risk of a high burden of Covid-19 on health systems this fall,” said the director of the ‘ECDC, Andrea Ammon.
âCountries should continuously strive to increase their immunization coverage in all eligible age groups, regardless of current immunization coverage levels, in order to limit the burden of infections posed by the Delta variant. “
Depending on disease rates in a country, non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as distancing and masks, may also be needed until the end of November, she warned.
The report predicts that a greater proportion of cases among children will be reported in the coming months and says that physical distancing, good hygiene and better ventilation will remain essential to prevent transmission in schools.
Filling the immunization gap for vulnerable populations and healthcare workers before the winter months will be “critical” to mitigate risks to health services, he adds.
Meanwhile, there were 102 deaths from Covid-19 in September, the highest monthly figure since March, according to the Health Protection Monitoring Center (HPSC).
This compares to 71 deaths in August.
A total of 5,249 deaths have been recorded in the pandemic, representing a death rate of 1.1 per 1,000 people.
Four deaths of people under the age of 25 are recorded in the latest HPSC report, up from seven the week before.
The director of health services was asked to clarify the change in numbers, but did not do so on Thursday evening. However, it appears that the drop in deaths among young people is due to the exclusion of stillbirths linked to Covid from the figures.
The age range of those who died during the pandemic is 16 to 105 years; previously, the age range was 0 to 105 years.