Luxembourg's health authorities say the country is well-prepared to deal with new coronavirus infection waves in autumn.

Following the closure of the Victor Hugo vaccination centre on Saturday, our colleagues from RTL caught up with Dr Jean-Caude Schmit, director of the Health Directorate, and Luc Feller, the High Commissioner for National Protection, to discuss the ongoing preparations for a potential infection wave in autumn.

Well-prepared for different scenarios 

Dr Schmit explained that it is impossible to predict if there will be a more severe and contagious coronavirus variant in a few months time, but ensured that authorities played through a number of scenarios and that Luxembourg is well-prepared to deal with any eventuality.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, experts have learned a lot about the novel virus, noted Dr Schmit: "We have ordered new vaccine supplies and are ready to reopen vaccination centres if necessary. We also have strong testing capacities, both for lab-based PCR tests and rapid tests for home use, the latter of which have become widely accepted and used by our population. We also have the means to treat hospitalised patients with a number of pharmaceutical drugs."

Authorisation of new Omicron vaccines expected soon

Both Pfizer and Moderna have in the meantime developed new vaccines designed specifically for the Omicron variant. First deliveries are hoped to arrive in September: 500,000 doses from Moderna and 260,000 doses from Pfizer.

Feller elaborated on the lacking authorisations for the new vaccines: "We expect that the approval will come through in due time and that this will become the new bivalent vaccine."

However, Feller also acknowledged that procedural details of the new vaccines, WuhanBA1 and Wuhan BA4-5, as well as the administration of different doses, is not yet clear and will largely depend on the timely authorisation of each type.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is headquartered in Amsterdam, is in charge of authorising the new vaccines.

It remains to be seen what a new vaccination campaign in Luxembourg will look like. Much will depend on the number of age groups that health officials will recommend, explained Feller.

To avoid potential complications, people above the age of 60 are advised to get a second booster shot now rather than wait for the approval of the new vaccines, which may still take some time. People can visit a selected list of GPs and pharmacies or make use of the vaccine bus to get inoculated.

Thus far, around 45,000 people in Luxembourg have already gotten a second booster jab.