Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

The head of the World Health Organization said coronavirus vaccines help reduce transmission of the dominant Delta variant by 40 percent and warned that people fall into a “false sense of security” after vaccination.

In a news report in Geneva Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that many vaccinated people mistakenly thought that receiving the COVID shot meant they would no longer have to take any other precautions.

“In many countries and communities, we are concerned about a false sense of security that vaccines have ended the pandemic, and that people who have been vaccinated do not need to take any other precautions,” Tedros told reporters.

“Vaccines save lives, but they do not completely prevent transmission,” he added.

“Data indicate that vaccines before the arrival of the Delta variant reduced the transmission by about 60 percent. With Delta, it dropped to about 40 percent, “Tedros warned.

Delta is now overwhelmingly dominant around the world, with everything but other tribes competing outside.

“We can not say it clearly enough: even if you have been vaccinated, continue to take precautions to prevent yourself from becoming infected and infecting someone else who may die.”

“It means wearing a mask, keeping your distance, avoiding crowds and meeting others outside if you can, or in a well-ventilated space inside.

Crisis in Europe

WHO Director of Emergencies Michael Ryan said on Wednesday that people in Europe were “back to pre-pandemic levels of social mixing” despite a worrying increase in cases and hospitalizations.

“The reality is that the virus will continue to transmit intensely in that environment,” he told reporters.

Europe’s return as the epicenter of the pandemic has been blamed on Delta, a slow vaccination in some countries, colder weather and easing restrictions.

People wearing face masks will be standing in a 700-meter-long queue on 22 November 2021 to be vaccinated at the Philharmonic Hall ‘Elbphilharmonie’ in the northern German city of Hamburg. [Morris Mac Matzen/AFP]

“Last week, more than 60 percent of all reported cases and deaths due to COVID-19 worldwide were back in Europe,” Tedros said.

“The sheer number of cases leads to unsustainable pressure on health systems and exhausted health workers.”

Europe recorded more than 2.4 million new cases last week, an increase of 11 percent over the previous week. In Germany, infections rose by 31 percent.

WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said it was important to take measures during the European holiday season, adding that “social measures do not mean restrictions”.

In recent weeks, riots broke out in several European countries as more restrictions and restrictions were imposed in places such as Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

IP waiver treaty

Tedros expressed hope that a consensus could be found next week at the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting on a waiver of IP for pandemic vaccines, which is already supported by more than 100 countries.

The WHO chief said he was encouraged by a “broad consensus” reached on an international agreement on preventing future pandemics at the UN special session of the World Health Assembly, calling it a “unique opportunity”.

“The world has treaties to manage other threats; “countries can certainly agree on the need for a binding agreement on the threat of pandemics,” he added.

In addition, the WHO Director-General said that although the world continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, it “does not lose sight of the many other health threats that people around the world face, including antimicrobial resistance.”

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