EMA:Take whatever COVID-19 booster you can get

This file photo taken on June 11, 2021 shows the entrance of the European Medicines Agency headquarters in Amsterdam. (FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS / AFP)

People in Europe should take whatever COVID-19 booster is available to them in the coming months, Emer Cooke, Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency, said in a Reuters Next Newsmaker interview ahead of an expected autumn rise in infections.

Apart from the original COVID vaccines, the EMA has endorsed a number of Omicron-adapted vaccines in recent weeks.

"The approach that we've taken in Europe is to have a plurality of options because we recognize that the needs in different member states may be different," she said, suggesting that countries will likely kick off their campaigns at different times or combine their rollouts with flu shots.

People may have the opportunity to choose their booster, Cooke said, "but really, a lot depends on what's available in your jurisdiction."

"My message is have confidence in whatever vaccines are offered to you," she added.

A sign shows the way to the COVID-19 emergency ward at the Santa Maria hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, Jan 18, 2021. (ARMANDO FRANCA / AP)


The average daily number of COVID-19 infections in Portugal has dropped to 2,468, the lowest number recorded this year, the Ricardo Jorge Institute reported on Wednesday.

The previous lowest daily average was 2,527 infections and the highest was 49,795, registered in late January this year.

The COVID-19 reproduction number, which indicates the number of secondary cases of infection resulting from each person carrying the virus, currently stands at 0.98, with no significant changes compared to the previous week.

The INSA estimates that, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Portugal has already had 5,447,844 COVID-19 infections.

The 2022-2023 autumn-winter vaccination campaign against influenza and COVID-19 started in the country on Sept 7.


A recent research found out that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge shortages in the labor market in the United States, British newspaper The Guardian has reported.

According to the study by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, a quarter of a million people of working age have died from the pandemic, and at least half a million people across all ages have dropped out of the workforce permanently, said the newspaper on Tuesday.

"Our estimates suggest COVID-19 illnesses have reduced the US labor force by approximately 500,000 people," said the study's authors, Gopi Shah Goda of Stanford University and Evan Soltas of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to the report.