European health experts warn of new wave of COVID-19 within a week

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By Mark Armstrong  with AFP
The EMA is advising all vulnerable people to make sure they are fully vaccinated
The EMA is advising all vulnerable people to make sure they are fully vaccinated   -   Copyright  Cleared   -  

The European Medicines Agency says a new wave of COVID-19 infections will hit the continent in the coming weeks as we move towards winter.

The EMA held a press conferenc in the Netherlands where officials said the pandemic is not over and that the Omicron variant continues to mutate and therefore to cause concern.

"Last week one of these new Omicron variants that is called BQ.1 has been identified in at least five countries in the European Union and European Economic Area," explained Dr. Marco Cavaleri, Head of Health Threats and Vaccines Strategy. "According to the ECDC BQ.1 and each sub-lineage, which is called BQ.1.1 will become the dominant strains by mid-November to the beginning of December."

The EMA said it expected the new wave to begin within a week and added that the virus is evolving faster than the ability to supply adaptive vaccines, which are still in the early stages of development.

The health officials also said that the influenza virus will be circulating at the same time as COVID-19 this winter, and that they recommend people in high-risk groups be vaccinated against both. On a more optimistic note, the EMA clarified that current vaccines are still effective.