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EMA: COVID-19 vaccines remain effective even with Omicron

EMA (European Medical Agency) continues to monitor emerging data on the effectiveness of vaccines against COVID-19, including disease caused by the Omicron variant, which is now spreading rapidly across the EU.

Results from recently published studies show that vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease is lower for Omicron than for other variants and tends to wane over time. As a result, more vaccinated people are likely to develop breakthrough disease due to Omicron.

Although Omicron appears to be more infectious than other variants, studies from South Africa, UK and some EU countries show a lower risk of being hospitalised after infection with Omicron; based on these studies, the risk is currently estimated to be between a third and half of the risk with the Delta variant.

However, these studies also show that vaccination continues to provide a high level of protection against severe disease and hospitalisation linked to the Omicron variant. The latest evidence, which includes real-world effectiveness data, also suggests that people who have had a booster dose are better protected than those who have only received their primary course. Data from South Africa indicate that people who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have up to 70% protection for hospitalisation; similar data from the UK shows that while protection declines a few months after vaccination, protection from hospitalisation rises again to 90% after a booster shot.

EMA emphasises that vaccination remains an essential part of the approach to fighting the ongoing pandemic. In line with recommendations by national authorities, efforts should continue to increase full vaccination uptake in individuals who are currently unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and to accelerate the roll-out of booster doses.

Read More: European Medical Agency

Everything you should know about the COVID-19 vaccination

Vaccination is free of charge for all people living in Estonia, even without the national health insurance.
  • Vaccination is voluntary.
  • Vaccination is open to all people who are at least 5 years old.
  • Compared to COVID-19 illness, vaccination is safe, and generally, the side effects pass quickly.
  • Booster doses are available only for adults, and the time for a booster jab is 2 months after finishing the vaccination course with the Janssen vaccine, and 3 months after finishing the vaccination course with AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
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