5th Covid vaccine authorised in Europe as Omicron continues to surge

Rome: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has added a fifth vaccine to its anti-Covid arsenal as the Omicron variant continued to spread across Europe.

“EMA has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine Nuvaxovid to prevent Covid in people from 18 years of age,” the agency announced on Monday.

The protein-based vaccine manufactured by US biotechnology company Novavax is the fifth to be authorised for use in the European Union (EU), after Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, reported Xinhua news agency.

Fears over community spread

In its weekly epidemiological update published on Monday, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said that 1,533 new cases of the Omicron variant were confirmed in the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) between December 16 – 19, contributing to an overall total of 4,691 confirmed cases.

Although Omicron cases were initially linked to travel, an increasing number of infections are now reported to have been acquired within the EU/EEA, including as parts of clusters and outbreaks, indicating community spread.

Most cases for which there is available information on severity are either asymptomatic or mild, and no Omicron-related deaths have been reported so far, according to the ECDC.

In the EU/EEA, the overall Covid case notification rate during the week ending on December 12 (week 49 of the year) was 783.7 per 1,00,000 population, down from 809.1 the week before. The 14-day notification rate of new Covid related deaths was 58.8 per one million population, up from 55.8 the previous week.

By the end of week 49, the cumulative uptake of at least one vaccine dose in the EU/EEA was 83.2 per cent among adults and 71.6 per cent in the total population. Cumulative uptake of full vaccination was 78.5 per cent among adults and 67.2 per cent in the total population, the ECDC said.

(IANS)

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