By Tara Rippin • 01 April 2021 • 16:19
Europe’s vaccine is “unacceptably slow” warns WHO.
ACCORDING to the World Health Organisation, Europe’s “slow vaccine roll-out is prolonging pandemic”.
As variants of concern continue to spread and strain on hospitals grows, religious holidays are leading to increased mobility…speeding up vaccination roll-out is crucial as new cases in the WHO European Region are increasing in every age group, apart from one,” reads a statement.
Last week saw increasing transmission of Covid-19 in the majority of European countries, with 1.6 million new cases and close to 24 000 fatalities.
According to WHO, Europe remains the second most affected by SARS-CoV-2 of all the world’s regions, with the total number of deaths fast approaching 1 million and the total number of cases about to surpass 45 million.
“Only five weeks ago, the weekly number of new cases in Europe had dipped to under 1 million, but now the Region’s situation is more worrying than we have seen in several months.
“There are risks associated with the increased mobility and gatherings over the religious holidays. Many countries are introducing new measures that are necessary and everyone should follow as much as they can,” said Dr Dorit Nitzan, Regional Emergency Director for the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
Fifty countries or territories have reported the variant of concern B.1.1.7, initially detected by the UK and now the predominant variant in Europe.
New data from Public Health England suggest that Covid-19 vaccines have saved, at the very least, more than 6,000 lives among people over 70 since vaccination started in December 2020.
However, at the moment only 10 per cent of Europe’s total population has received the first vaccine dose, and four per cent have received both.
“Vaccines present our best way out of this pandemic. Not only do they work, they are also highly effective in preventing infection. However, the roll-out of these vaccines is unacceptably slow. And as long as coverage remains low, we need to apply the same public health and social measures as we have in the past, to compensate for delayed schedules,” said Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
“Let me be clear: we must speed up the process by ramping up manufacturing, reducing barriers to administering vaccines, and using every single vial we have in stock, now.
“The risk of ongoing vaccination providing a false sense of security to authorities and the public alike is considerable – and that carries a danger,” Dr Kluge warned.
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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