Every person should get a booster shot against Covid-19 as soon as possible advised World Medical Association (WMA) Council Chairperson Dr Frank Ulrich Montgomery, who is also president of the Standing Committee of Doctors in EU (CPME), in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency released on Sunday.
“We must prevent the spread of the coronavirus and its variants in every way. Imagine the consequences of a variant as lethal as the Ebola virus,” he noted, while stressing his support for universal mandatory vaccination throughout Europe “as deniers, apart from putting themselves at risk, also endanger the health of others.”
He noted that the Omicron variant, which appeared to be more contagious but not more deadly than the Delta variant, was on track to be the dominant variant by Christmas.
Montgomery said a booster will also increase protection against Omicron by greatly increasing antibodies, so even if someone becomes infected the disease will be milder. The need for a third shot was not unusual, he pointed out, comparing it to the yearly flu vaccines and the rapid evolution of the specific virus. He also supported a shorter interval between the second and third shots.
He especially emphasised the need for a booster shot in individuals over 60, whose immune system was naturally weaker and the risk of serious disease much greater.
Montgomery was also in favour of tougher measures against the unvaccinated, with restriction of their freedom to travel, go to concerts and restaurants, as well as fines, and the vaccination of children aged five to seven, given that mRNA vaccines are “the best worldwide, extremely safe” and that children can act as a reservoir for the spread of the virus.
Regarding fears of dangerous side-effects from the vaccine, Montgomery stressed that the problems from the vaccine were minimal when compared to the risk from Covid-19. He cited a specific question put by an American reporter during a press conference held at the Vatican, who claimed that 6,000 deaths had been associated with vaccination in the United States.
“The number is initially terrifying but it concerns deaths whose causes have not yet been checked. Over the same period, 150 million Americans were vaccinated. If 1 pct of these had become seriously ill with Covid-19, then 1.5 million people would have died! So, even if all 6,000 had died because of the vaccine, the difference is huge. There is no alternative to vaccination and the danger is minimal,” he said.
He also stressed that mRNA technology used in the vaccines “not at all new” and has been used in medicine for the past 20 years, as well as being completely destroyed in the body within two days so they cannot cause long-term problems or side effects. “What is new is their use against a new virus,” he pointed out, saying the real problem was that many people “no longer believe in science”.
Stricter measures and limiting social interactions over Christmas were advisable, Montgomery said, while the measures should only be relaxed when there was a considerable reduction in cases. He called for “smart local measures” as opposed to a general lockdown, while stressing that freedoms come with responsibilities and “stop where they infringe on the freedoms of others”.
Montgomery stressed that everyone, regardless of their beliefs, must follow the rules. “Otherwise, we are talking about the tyranny of the unvaccinated. Three quarters of Germans are in favour of vaccination. The minority of 25 pct cannot impose its views and they must respect the rights of others to a return of their freedoms and normality,” he said.