According to the European Medicines Agency, the Omicron variant will bring Covid-19 out of the pandemic phase


Although the virus is still in the pandemic phase, the spread of the Omicron variant will transform Covid-19 into an endemic disease with which humanity must learn to live, the European regulator said on Tuesday.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also expressed doubts about giving a fourth vaccine to the population, saying injecting repeated doses was not a "sustainable" strategy.

Towards more immunity?

“Nobody knows exactly when we will be at the end of the tunnel but we will get there,” said Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccine strategy at the Amsterdam-based EMA.

“As immunity increases in the population – and with Omicron there will be a lot of natural immunity in addition to vaccination – we will move quickly towards a scenario that will be closer to endemicity,” Marco added. Cavaleri at a press conference.

But, he stressed, “we must not forget that we are still in a pandemic”.

The European branch of the World Health Organization also noted that it was currently impossible to qualify the virus as endemic, as is the flu.

“We still have a virus which is evolving quite quickly and which poses new challenges. We are therefore certainly not at the point of being able to qualify it as endemic, ”said the head of emergency situations at the World Health Organization Europe section, Catherine Smallwood.


Curb reminders

The latter also warned that fighting the Covid-19 pandemic with booster doses of current vaccines was not a viable strategy, an opinion shared by the EMA.

“If we have a strategy where we give boosters every four months, we end up potentially having immune response issues,” Cavaleri said.

“And secondly, of course, there is the risk of population fatigue with the continuous administration of booster doses,” he added.

Countries should instead start thinking about spacing boosters at longer intervals and administering them at the start of winter, like the flu shot, he said.

Although Omicron appears to be more contagious than other variants, studies have shown a lower risk of being hospitalized after infection with this variant – estimated at between a third and half the risk with the Delta variant, according to the EMA .

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