WHO warn over stalled vaccinations as European Covid cases soar
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WHO Regional Director Dr Hans Kluge has warned the high transmission rate of coronavirus across the European Union is a “deeply worrying” sign. The concerning numbers have led the WHO on Monday to call for vaccination to be ramped up across the continent. In addition, Dr Kluge called on European Governments to begin planning to rollout booster jabs for vulnerable Europeans.
Dr Hans told Euronews: “In 15 countries, there is a decrease in vaccination uptake even when the vaccines are available.
“So we have to work on multiple fronts and one of them is to decrease the vaccine hesitancy.
“The first priority is to ensure that the most vulnerable get their first and second shot.
“Then we have to do it all, meaning that in those countries where we see that people with decreased immunity, the elderly people, have a waning immunity against severe disease, then those countries can consider a third dose.”
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He added: “But we should do it all, meaning sharing doses with those countries which still didn’t vaccinate fully health care workers, and at the same time look at the evolving evidence.
“We know in the pan-European region for example that there are at least 28 countries which have a surplus of doses.
“So those doses need to be shared as soon as possible.”
He also pointed to concerning data showing”greater than 10% increase in 14-day case incidence.”
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Dr Kluge said: “This high transmission is deeply worrying, particularly in the light of low vaccination uptake in priority populations in a number of countries.”
“Several countries are starting to observe an increased burden on hospitals,” he added.
Europe has so far recorded more than 64 million confirmed cases and 1.3 million deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, one projection has pointed to a further 236,000 people succumbing to the virus across Europe by December 1.
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It comes as a worrying study suggested that Covid vaccine effectiveness could drop to below 50 percent by the winter.
The ZOE COVID Study forecast is a worst-case scenario, according to lead scientist professor Tim Spector, but he stressed the Government must begin planning booster jabs.
“In my opinion, a reasonable worst-case scenario could see protection below 50 percent for the elderly and healthcare workers by winter, if high levels of infection in the UK, driven by loosened social restrictions and a highly transmissible variant, this scenario could mean increased hospitalisations and deaths,” he said.
“We urgently need to make plans for vaccine boosters, and based on vaccine resources, decide if a strategy to vaccinate children is sensible if our aim is to reduce deaths and hospital admissions.
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