The EU health authority, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), has pointed out the importance of complete vaccinations against Covid-19 in view of the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Following the recommended vaccination schedule - in the case of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca products, giving two doses of the vaccine - is crucial to benefit from the highest possible protection against the virus, the Stockholm-based agency said on Wednesday, together with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
"Preliminary evidence suggests that both doses of a two-dose Covid-19 vaccine like Comirnaty, Spikevax or Vaxzevria are needed to provide adequate protection against the Delta variant," they said, using the brand names for the vaccines.
EU citizens are urged to be vaccinated and to adhere to the recommended number of doses.
The ECDC estimates that Delta variant, which first appeared in India and is more contagious, will account for 90% of all new coronavirus infections in the EU by the end of August.
It is therefore essential that EU countries accelerate their vaccination campaigns and close immunity gaps as quickly as possible, they said.
o commented on the approach of several countries to use a different vaccine for the second Covid-19 vaccination than for the first.
There are good scientific reasons to expect this strategy to be safe and effective. In addition, this approach could allow the population to be protected more quickly and make better use of available vaccine supplies, they said.
At the moment, however, the EMA and ECDC are not in a position to make definitive recommendations on the use of different vaccines for the second dose.
It is also too early to confirm if and when an additional dose of vaccine will be needed.