According to the WHO, nearly two million cases of the corona virus were reported in Europe last week, again turning the continent into a hotbed of epidemics.
This is “the highest number of cases reported in a single week in the region since the outbreak,” the organisation’s head, Tetros Adanom Caprais, told reporters.
He said the most important thing is to ensure that vaccines are delivered to those most in need as many countries re-impose restrictions or release more vaccines and boosters.
“It’s not just about how many people are vaccinated, it’s also about who gets vaccinated,” Tetros said.
“It is absurd to give boosters to healthy adults or to vaccinate children while health workers, the elderly and other risk groups around the world are still waiting for their first dose,” he added.
Despite repeated calls by the WHO to ban booster shots until the end of this year in order to provide doses to poorer countries, many countries are now offering extra doses to vaccinated people.
“Every day, six times more booster doses are administered worldwide than the primary dose in low-income countries,” Tetros said: “This must end a scandal.”
Michael Ryan, director of the WHO’s Health Emergency Program, stressed that the increase in cases does not translate into a sharp increase in hospitalizations and deaths in countries with high immunization coverage.
However, if large groups of vulnerable populations are not vaccinated, health systems can quickly become stressed.
“If you are currently in Europe (…) and you are part of a high-risk vulnerable group or if you are an older person and you have not been vaccinated, the best chance for you is to get vaccinated,” he declared.
He cited a British study that a person who is not vaccinated is 32 times more likely to die than a person who is not vaccinated.
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