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THE HAGUE: The EU’s medicines watchdog said on Wednesday two jabs by approved vaccine makers were “vital” to provide maximum protection against the highly infectious coronavirus Delta variant, urging countries to speed up their inoculation drives.

“Preliminary evidence suggests that both doses of a two-dose Covid-19 vaccine... are needed to provide adequate protection against the Delta variant,” the European Medicines Agency said.

“Adherence to the recommended vaccination course is vital to benefit from the highest level of protection.”

Calling it a “variant of concern”, the EMA said the Delta strain, first detected in India, was “spreading fast in Europe and may seriously hamper efforts to control the pandemic”.

By the end of August, this variant would represent 90 percent of all coronavirus cases, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in the same statement.

“This makes it essential for countries to speed up vaccination programmes, including delivery of second doses where recommended and to close the gaps and opportunities for further emergence of variants as soon as possible,” the EMA said.

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