The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates that more than 20% of home professionals in Europe are not vaccinated, while outbreaks still occur in countries like Portugal, calling for efforts to contain countries.

The data was released today in a risk update report, in which ECDC speaks of “several recent outbreaks of covid-19 in long-term care facilities in the European Union and European Economic Area [UE/EEE]”.

Outbreaks of covid-19 in households in EU/EEA countries have caused significant morbidity and mortality since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. Thus, vaccination programs have prioritized residents as one of the main target groups for vaccination and, although morbidity and mortality in this population has drastically decreased with the progressive increase in vaccination, several outbreaks continued to occur during 2021, coinciding with high levels of community transmission and incomplete vaccination of residents and staff”, warns the European agency in the report.

This warning comes at a time when the Delta variant, detected in India and much more transmissible, is dominant in virtually all European countries, and when “more than 20% of household staff are not vaccinated” against covid-19 , according to ECDC estimates, which nevertheless admits the “lack of reliable data on vaccination coverage” in these structures.

The European center also predicts that these outbreak cases “continue until a greater proportion of the general population is fully vaccinated, unless non-pharmaceutical interventions are implemented. [medidas de contenção] stricter”, indicates the report consulted by Lusa.

In the document, ECDC highlights that six countries – Portugal, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg and Norway – notified the agency of 18 outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2, of which 17 included cases both among residents and among staff.

Aware of these examples, the European agency reports that in 16 of these outbreaks, cases of covid-19 were detected among residents of fully vaccinated homes. With regard to staff vaccination, it was less than 80%.

“High levels of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 increase the risk of outbreaks in homes and the risk of infection for vulnerable unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals”, warns the ECDC in the document, noting that people at risk because of the “age and underlying conditions”.

And remembering that this “global level of transmission in the general population has a direct impact on the risk for household residents”, the European center asks Member States to “continue measures to maintain or reduce the spread” in order to thus “reduce the risk for this vulnerable group”.

Specifically for this population, ECDC urges European countries to “quickly ensure full coverage of vaccination for household residents and all people in contact with them”, as well as to “implement measures to reduce the risk of the introduction of the virus”.

This European agency also calls for “early identification of covid-19 cases” in these structures, with frequent testing and screening, and “meticulous compliance” with restrictive measures for residents, staff and visitors, “regardless of vaccination coverage, ensuring the same time that residents’ mental health needs are taken into account”.

ECDC’s online tool to track vaccination in the EU, which is based on notifications from Member States, indicates that an average of 78.5% of elderly people over 80 years of age already have full vaccination and 82% have received a dose of the vaccine, percentages that rise to 81.9% and 85.6%, respectively, in the age group of 70 to 79 years.

Overall, 53.9% of adults in the EU already have both vaccines and 68.3% only one.

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