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GENEVA (Sputnik) – The European Union may face the third wave of coronavirus transmissions and fresh lockdowns this fall if states fail to roll out vaccines rapidly, the head of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, said on Wednesday.

“If the vaccination is suddenly not carried through, or not enough people are inoculated for some reason, then I am absolutely sure that restrictions will be reimposed in Germany and other European countries this autumn”, Wieler said at a UN conference.

The expert stressed that it was necessary to vaccinate more citizens to minimise the number of COVID-19 patients and reduce the load on health care systems.

“In Germany, I see that the third wave has already started. And this raises concerns. So, we should inoculate as many people as possible in a short period. Otherwise, we will have more serious patients than we can manage”, Wieler said.

The expert added that the EU countries might also face a spike in COVID-19 infections if pharmaceutical companies failed to produce the necessary amount of doses or deliver vaccines on time.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the EU countries have administered 34,142,590 of 46,064,495 doses that they have received from manufacturers. Although Germany has immunized the highest number of citizens — over 8.8 million — only three percent of the population have so far received both shots. Bulgaria and Latvia are the outsiders in the EU vaccine rollout, with 0.6 and 1.1 percent of vaccinated citizens, respectively.

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