The European director of WHO warned on Friday that the COVID-19 pandemic will not end until at least 70% of people are vaccinated and criticized that the launch of vaccines in Europe is “too slow”.
The World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said countries and their populations should not be pleased with the pandemic.
“I don’t think the COVID-19 pandemic is over,” Kluge told AFP in an interview, adding that vaccination rates need to be raised.
“The pandemic will end once we reach 70% minimum coverage in vaccination,” the regional director said.
In the 53 countries and territories that make up the WHO European region — including several in Central Asia — 26 percent of the population has received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
In the European Union, 36.6% of the population has received at least one dose and 16.9% have been completely vaccinated, according to an AFP count.
Kluge said one of his main concerns was increasing the contagiousness of the new variants.
“We know, for example, that B.1617 (Indian variant) is more transmissible than B.117 (British variant), which was already more transmissible than the previous strain,” Kluge noted.
Cases of the so-called Indian variant have been reported in 27 of the 53 countries in the region, while the number of new cases and deaths has fallen for five consecutive weeks, reaching their lowest levels since mid-October.
All over the world, new cases have been falling for four weeks in a row, according to an AFP account.
But while vaccines have been shown to be effective against coronavirus mutations, people still need to be vigilant, Kluge stressed.
The Belgian doctor said that one of the main concerns was that “people would leave the guards to be pleased,” especially entering the summer months.
In addition, there are big meetings on the horizon in conjunction with the European Football Championship.
“Finally we give the red card to COVID-19, don’t allow extra time for COVID-19,” Kluge quipped, repeating tips for keeping social distance and wearing masks.
He also stressed that speed is “essential” during the pandemic.
“Our best friend is speed, time works against us and (and) the launch of vaccination is still too slow,” Kluge said.
“We need to accelerate, we need to expand the number of vaccines” and European countries needed more solidarity.
“It is not acceptable for some countries to start vaccinating the youngest and healthiest part of the population, while other countries in our region still did not cover all health workers and the most vulnerable people,” Kluge said.
© 2021 AFP
Citation: The pandemic will not end until 70% is vaccinated: the director of the WHO (2021, May 28), recovered on May 28, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-pandemic -wont-vaccinated-director.html
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