The WHO stance on COVID-19 vaccine booster doses
WHO Europe rejected a claim made earlier this month by the World Health Organization (WHO) that statistics did not justify the use of COVID-19 booster doses.
“A third dose of vaccine is not a luxury booster (that is) taken away from someone who is still waiting for a first jab. It’s basically a way to keep the most vulnerable safe,” Kluge told the press briefing.
“We have to be a little bit careful with the booster shot, because there is not yet enough evidence,” he added.
“But more and more studies show that a third dose keeps vulnerable people safe, and this is done by more and more countries in our region,” he said.
Some European countries have already started the process of booster shots to the most vulnerable, following reports that the vaccine loses some of its effectiveness after a few months.
Why are COVID-19 deaths rising in Europe?
High transmission rates, slow vaccination process, and the easing of restrictions are the three main factors according to the Europe chief of WHO.
According to Kluge, 33 out of the 53 member states of the WHO Europe had an infection rate of more than 10% in the previous two weeks, mostly attributing to the extremely contagious delta variant.
The rapid spread of the virus was “deeply worrying, particularly in the light of low vaccination uptake in priority populations in a number of countries,” Kluge said.
“In the past six weeks, it has fallen by 14%, influenced by a lack of access to vaccines in some countries and a lack of vaccine acceptance in others,” he added.
Despite the fact that nearly half of Europeans are now completely vaccinated, the number of people receiving vaccinations has decreased. In poorer European countries, with some only having managed to vaccinate around 10% of healthcare workers.
The spread of the virus has also been facilitated by a “exaggerated easing” of restrictions and a surge in people travelling overseas for the summer.
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