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Medical experts stress need for more vaccinations in Latvia

Although coronavirus morbidity rates continue to fall and restrictions on people's behaviour are being slowly loosened, Latvian health experts are warning against and premature feeling of "victory" over the virus and in particular are wary of the spread of the more virulent "Delta" variant of the disease, reported LTV June 26. 

The Delta variant, first detected in India, currently accounts for 5-6% of cases in Latvia, but it is estimated that the situation will change by the end of the summer.     

"Over the next two months' time, in fact until the beginning of August, this strain of the virus is expected to account for 70% of all cases found in the European Union and 90% by the end of August or the end of the summer, because it is spreading much faster in society," said Jurijs Perevoščikovs, epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (SPKC).

Jānis Kloviņš, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Latvian Center for Biomedical Research and Studies, pointed out that the spread of the virus is still characterized by seasonality, which is related to human behavior, and that staying outside in the fresh air during the summer will help reduce infection rates. However, this does not mean reducing vigilance.

"The biggest risk for us at the moment, unless something worse happens now, is that in the autumn the situation will worsen again, if we do not vaccinate more," said Klovins.  

"It has already been scientifically proven that the delta variant is unfortunately spreading in countries with low vaccination rates," said Liene Cipule, head of the Emergency Medical Service. Even in countries with high vaccination coverage, the incidence curve may climb due to the delta variant, but studies have shown that the number of deaths is not increasing.”

According to Perevoščikovs, achieving vaccination of 70% of the total population should be sufficient. However, as children under the age of 12 are not being vaccinated in Latvia, higher vaccination coverage will need to be achieved among adults, of around 80%.

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