December 9, 2022

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WHO Europe: Stagnant COVID-19 vaccination requires urgent action

WHO Europe Office: Stagnant COVID-19 vaccination requires urgent action



 

WHO Europe Office: Stagnant COVID-19 vaccination requires urgent action.  

 

On August 30, local time in Denmark, Dr. Hans Kluge, director of the WHO European Office, said that there are now 64 million confirmed cases and 1.3 million deaths in Europe. Thirty-three Member States reported an increase of more than 10% in the 14-day case rate. This high transmission rate is deeply worrying, especially considering that the vaccination rate of key populations in some countries is relatively low.

Some countries are beginning to observe an increase in the burden on hospitals and an increase in the number of deaths. Last week, the death toll in the area increased by 11%. A reliable prediction is that 236,000 people will die in Europe by December 1.

Three factors contributed to this increase. First, there are reports from 50 countries in the region showing that the more easily transmitted delta mutant strain has caused the virus to spread widely. The second factor is the relaxation of public health measures, and the third factor is the seasonal surge in travel, which has led to a significant increase in the number of cases in most countries.

Hans said that we must unswervingly maintain multiple layers of protection, including vaccinations and masks. Vaccines are the way to reopen society and stabilize the economy. Nevertheless, we still face the challenges of insufficient production, insufficient access, and insufficient vaccine acceptance.

In about 8 months, nearly 850 million doses of vaccine have been vaccinated, and nearly half of the people in the region have been fully vaccinated. This is an amazing achievement!

However, in the past 6 weeks, the vaccination rate in the region has slowed due to the lack of access to vaccines in some countries and the lack of vaccine acceptance in other countries. As of today, only 6% of people in some low- and middle-income countries in Europe have completed two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Although nearly three-quarters of health workers in Europe have completed two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, some countries can only vaccinate one-tenth of health professionals.

There is a clear need to increase production, share, and improve vaccine accessibility in Member States so that a complete vaccination can be provided to the population. Everyone everywhere should have the right to be vaccinated.

Vaccination is a right and a responsibility. The stagnation of vaccination in Europe is a cause for serious concern. Many countries are now relaxing public health and social measures. If we want to avoid greater transmission, more serious diseases, an increase in deaths, and a greater risk of new mutant strains, public vaccination acceptance is critical .

Health authorities must study very carefully the factors that determine population groups’ vaccination, and then develop tailored interventions at the community level to promote vaccination.

Increasing vaccine production, fair sharing of vaccines, and promoting vaccine acceptance and demand are the basic elements needed to achieve vaccination that can free the European region from the epidemic.

 

(source:internet, reference only)


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