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Thursday, December 9, 2021

‘False sense of security’ around COVID vaccines: WHO | Coronavirus pandemic news

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

in a press conference in Geneva On Wednesday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that many vaccinated people mistakenly thought that getting the COVID injection meant they no longer needed to take 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 are vaccinated do not need to take any other precautions,” Tedros told reporters.

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

“The data suggests that before the arrival of the Delta variant, vaccines reduced transmission by about 60 percent. With Delta, that’s down to about 40 percent,” Tedros warned.

Delta is now overwhelmingly dominant worldwide, having competed with other strains.

“We cannot say this clearly enough: even if you are vaccinated, continue to take precautions to avoid infecting yourself and infecting someone else who could die.”

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

Crisis in Europe

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

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

Europe’s return as the epicenter of the pandemic has been attributed to Delta, slow adoption of vaccines in some nations, colder weather, and easing of restrictions.

People wearing face masks queue 700 meters long to get vaccinated at the Elbe Philharmonic in the northern German city of Hamburg on November 22, 2021. [Morris Mac Matzen/AFP]

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

“The sheer number of cases is translating into unsustainable pressure on health systems and exhausted health workers.”

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

WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said it was important to take action during the holiday period in Europe, adding that “social measures do not mean closures.”

In the last weeks riots have broken out in several European countries as more closures and restrictions were introduced in places like Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Intellectual Property Exemption Treaty

Tedros expressed hope that consensus could be reached at the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting next week for an intellectual property exemption for pandemic vaccines, which already have the support of more than 100 countries.

The WHO chief said he was encouraged by a “broad consensus” that was 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 surely agree on the need for a binding pact on the threat of pandemics, “he added.

Furthermore, the WHO director-general said that while the world continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, “it cannot lose sight of the many other health threats faced by people around the world, including antimicrobial resistance. “.

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