The World Health Organization on Friday called for more targeted vaccination efforts to ensure vulnerable masses receive injections, with COVID-19 infections erupting again in Europe.
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According to the World Health Organization, nearly two million cases of coronavirus were recorded last week in Europe, making the continent once again the epicenter of the epidemic.
This is the “highest number of cases recorded in one week in the region since the beginning of the epidemic,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.
As many countries re-impose restrictions or roll out more vaccines and boosters, he said the most important thing is to ensure that vaccines are given to those who need them most.
“It’s not just a question of how many people have been vaccinated. It has to do with who gets vaccinated,” Tedros said.
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Several countries are currently providing an additional dose to their populations who have already been vaccinated, despite repeated calls from the World Health Organization to halt the use of boosters until the end of the year to provide doses to the poorest countries.
“Every day, there are six times more boosters being administered worldwide than initial doses in low-income countries,” Tedros said.
Michael Ryan, director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, stressed that the increase in cases would not translate into a sharp increase in hospitalizations and deaths in countries with high immunization coverage.
However, health systems can quickly come under strain if large groups of vulnerable populations remain unvaccinated.
“If you are currently in Europe (…) and are part of a high-risk group or you are an elderly person and have not been vaccinated, your best chance is to receive the vaccination,” he said.
He cited a British study showing that an unvaccinated person was 32 times more likely to die than a vaccinated person.
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