COVID-19 cases and people going to the hospital because of it are increasing in Europe. Let’s talk about what different European countries are doing to give more COVID-19 shots.
France has started a new plan to give more COVID-19 shots this week. They want people who might get very sick from COVID-19 to get another shot. This new shot is made to work against the latest versions of the virus that are spreading. In more than half of European countries, the number of COVID-19 cases is going up. Some people are getting so sick that they need to go to special hospital units called ICUs, and sadly, some people are even dying from the virus. But this is happening on a smaller scale compared to before.
Even though most people in European countries got their first COVID-19 shots, like one or two doses, not as many are getting the booster shots. Only a little over half of Europeans got their first booster shot, and just 14% got their second booster, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Now, let’s see what different European countries are telling people about getting vaccinated and what to do if they test positive for COVID-19.
Who should get vaccinated against COVID-19?
European countries say that people who could get really sick from COVID-19 should get a booster shot. Some countries are starting to give these shots in the winter when more people might get sick from the virus.
They’re also using updated vaccines to fight against newer versions of the virus like Omicron. These updated vaccines can also protect against similar versions of the virus. In France, anyone who wants a booster shot can get one for free. It’s especially recommended for people who are 65 or older, those with other health problems, pregnant women, people in care homes, and those who are close to people who could get very sick from COVID-19. Germany is telling people over 60, people in care homes, and those with health problems to get a booster shot every year.
Spain has updated its recommendations, telling people over 60, people in care homes, those with health problems, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu. In the Netherlands, they’re giving booster shots to people at risk of getting really sick from COVID-19. If you live with someone who could get very sick from COVID-19, you can also get a shot.
Poland started giving fifth booster shots in April to people at risk and healthcare workers. Bulgaria began a new vaccination campaign with vaccines targeting the Omicron XBB version. It’s available to people over 12, especially older people, those with health problems, pregnant women, and healthcare workers.
One worry for the winter is that COVID-19, the flu, and another virus called RSV could all be spreading at the same time and put a lot of stress on hospitals. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) director says we need to vaccinate people who could end up in the hospital because of COVID-19 to help lessen the pressure on hospitals.
Do you still have to stay away from others if you have COVID-19?
In Europe, you don’t have to stay away from others if you have COVID-19 as of this year.
In the Netherlands, they stopped making people get tested and stay away from others because a lot of people there are already immune, and the new versions of the virus aren’t making people very sick. They suggest using common sense and staying home if you have symptoms or working from home if you can. Germany says if you’re sick, it’s good to stay home until you’re feeling better, but they don’t make people stay away from others if they have COVID-19. France has a similar suggestion after a positive test.
Italy removed the last rules about staying away from others if you have COVID-19 in August. They said because there are vaccines and treatments available now, they don’t need to make people isolate themselves anymore. But they’re still keeping an eye on the situation and might change the rules if needed.
Image Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/27/europe-launches-covid-vaccination-campaign