WHO official warns pandemic will not over until 70% are not vaccinated
The WHO’s European director warned Friday that the Covid-19 pandemic won’t be over until at least 70 percent of people are vaccinated, while deploring that the vaccine rollout in Europe is still “too slow”.
“The pandemic will be over once we reach 70 percent minimum coverage in vaccination,” the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told AFP in an interview.
In the 53 countries and territories that make up the WHO’s 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 percent of the population has received at least one dose and 16.9 percent have been fully vaccinated, according to a count by AFP.
Kluge said one of his main concerns was the increased contagiousness of new variants.
“We know for example that the B.1617 (Indian variant) is more transmissible than the B.117 (British variant), which already was more transmissible than the previous strain,” Kluge noted.
Cases of the so-called Indian variant have been recorded in 27 of the region’s 53 countries , while the number of new cases, and deaths, has fallen for five consecutive weeks, reaching their lowest levels since mid-October.