The coronavirus could claim another 236,000 lives in Europe by December 1. Hans Kluge, the director of WHO Europe, made that bitter prediction in a press briefing. Our compatriot is also concerned about the stagnation of vaccination campaigns in European countries.
In some countries, the higher infection rates are ‘particularly alarming’, especially when combined with low vaccination rates.
Of the 53 countries that are part of WHO Europe, 33 have seen the number of infections grow by more than 10 percent in the past two weeks. “This is very worrying, especially given the low vaccination coverage among high-risk groups in a number of countries.”
According to the director, fewer and fewer new people are being pricked. “In the past six weeks, the number of vaccinations has decreased by 14 percent. However, there are not enough vaccines; in others, certain vaccines are not accepted.” Therefore, according to Kluge, countries should increase production and share doses.
“The third shot that many countries are now planning should be aimed at keeping the most vulnerable safe,” Kluge continued. “So don’t see it as a luxury booster taken away from someone who is still waiting for a first shot.”
At the same time, Kluge called for caution. “There are more and more studies showing that such a third shot keeps vulnerable people safe, but there is no definitive proof yet.” Kluge also advised countries with a vaccine surplus to share that surplus with other countries, especially in Eastern Europe and Africa.
Since the pandemic’s start, 1.3 million deaths have already been counted in the countries that are part of WHO Europe. In addition to European countries, the European WHO region also includes countries in Central Asia.
Worldwide, there are already more than 4.5 million deaths. The United States has been hardest hit, with 637,539 deaths out of 38,798,963 infections. This is followed by Brazil (579,308 deaths out of 20,741,815 infections) and India (438,210 deaths out of 32,737,939 infections).