From autumn, Covid-19 can be embedded “in the classic influenza surveillance structures” under certain conditions. Behind this somewhat awkwardly formulated conclusion from the most recent report by the national crisis coordination (Gecko) lies the hope that politicians have been raising more and more frequently in recent days: that after the omicron wave, with a highly contagious, but much milder variant, the pandemic was over for the time being. And that you can prepare for Corona in the fall in a similar way to a “normal” flu epidemic.
One of the most important prerequisites is that “no new mutants with high pathogenicity” appear by then. The immunity level through vaccination or recovery should be around 90 percent, as is currently the case. If there were also sufficient medicines and (variant) vaccines, Austria could “go in the direction of classic influenza surveillance structures with an international network,” says the report.
In the previous week “the number of new infections fell for the first time in a long time”, Gecko chairwoman Katharina Reich had “very good news”. However: The numbers should remain high, so “the situation is still volatile”.
That’s why it’s all the more important to protect yourself. And since “vaccination is the safest form of immunization,” said Reich. Because the majority of gecko experts assume that “vaccination or infection will also protect against serious infections in new variants”. According to the epidemiological reporting system (EMS) and e-vaccination card, around 85 percent of Austrians (as of February 2) have had contact with the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, or they have received the vaccination.
The Gecko report names September as the optimal time for an annual CoV refresher in the future – similar to influenza. Then you can also use the effect of the boosts strategically and optimally dampen autumn waves. Previous experience had shown that antibody formation “is particularly good” shortly after the booster.
Vulnerable groups, such as transplant patients, should be vaccinated more often. The frequency should be regulated by the attending physicians. Antibody tests are also recommended as useful in the report.
The 23-strong government advisory body also had to report a change in personnel over the weekend. The journalist Ingrid Brodnig has retired due to lack of time. Political scientist Julia Partheymller became a new Gecko member. (luc)
SP proposal on vaccination fleet
- Before the weekend, the prospect that the federal government’s planned incentive system for the vaccination fleet would fail to implement triggered ridicule and criticism. On Sunday, SP finance spokesman Jan Krainer advocated a “pragmatic solution”. With the money provided, one could simply give all fully vaccinated people a voucher for 150 euros each. This can then be redeemed at companies that were affected by the lockdowns. Businesses threatened with closure receive help through this premium. Originally, the SP had asked for a 500-euro voucher after the third stitch.
- In the lottery, every tenth vaccinated person should receive a 500-euro voucher. Each partial vaccination entitles you to participate. The ORF does not want to take over the organization.